Once I had finished helping Lafayette clean up after the last of the food had been served I climbed into my car and headed home with my thoughts going back over the last few days. Eric had pouted a little when I told him I would be volunteering at the shelter that morning, but with him in a cast I knew he would get tired and uncomfortable having to stand for a long period of time and convinced him to stay home. We hadn’t spent any time apart since the day I’d run to the store and came home to find his father at the house, so it was an odd feeling for both of us to be separated, but since we’d both be going back to work the next day I figured it was a good time for us to try and adjust.
Eric and I were making a lot of progress in our relationship and even though he still hadn’t regained one bit of his missing memories, he was closer to being My Eric than I had dared to wish for. Everything between us had happened so fast the first time around that I don’t think I fully appreciated falling in love with him. Maybe I’d been too blinded while in the moment or took it for granted that nothing could burst our bubble and while I was still in love with him now, the way he’d sometimes look at me or just silently reach out to touch me as if physical contact somehow made him feel comforted was making me fall in love with him all over again. I hadn’t said the actual words again. I didn’t want him to feel like he had to repeat the words back to me, but I knew, even if he was still unsure, that he did love me.
As I pulled up towards the gate I noticed the crowd of paparazzi had dwindled significantly and sent up a silent prayer of thanks. None of them ever looked twice at my car whenever we’d come and gone and figured they thought it belonged to someone that worked in the neighborhood, but since Eric had such a hard time fitting into it we’d taken his car when we’d run to the grocery store a couple of days earlier. Pandemonium ensued so when we were both feeling a little bit of cabin fever the next day we’d taken my car and gone for a drive up the coast. Eric knew of a beautiful spot where we’d pulled over and had a picnic lunch with the most amazing view. It was the most normal outing we’d ever had and I loved every second of it.
Pam’s car was just pulling into the driveway ahead of me and Eric must’ve been waiting on one of us because he had the front door open before I could pull into the garage. Thinking something might be wrong I just parked in the driveway, but before I could do or say anything Pam got out and took one look at me getting out of the car, stomped over to Eric and started hitting him with her purse like he was a piñata, saying, “What! Is! Wrong! With! You!”
I ran over and put myself in between them, wondering what in the hell had happened, yelling, “Pam! Stop it!”
Undeterred, she kept trying to smack him by reaching around me and ignored me, continuing her rant with, “Stop! Being! An! Ass!”
“What the fuck is going on?” I asked while pinning her arms down at her sides. I’d only been gone for a few hours so I couldn’t possibly imagine what had gone wrong, but she was a lot stronger than she looked and I hoped someone would start explaining before I had to knock her down into the rose bushes next to the front door.
“Yeah!” Eric shouted from behind me. “What the Fuck!”
“That!” she shrieked with her perfectly manicured finger pointing at my car.
“The Black Pearl?” I asked. Since the car actually was black, I’d jokingly named it after Captain Jack’s ship just to get a rise out of Eric and it never failed to get a reaction out of him.
He snarled from behind me, “That’s just wrong,” making me snicker, but Pam’s face was anything but amused.
She looked passed me and asked Eric, “Why would you let her go out and resort to having to buy something like that? Just because she doesn’t want your money doesn’t mean you can’t spend any of it on her.”
I spoke up before Eric could say anything and argued, “Eric did buy me that car!” I still felt a little weird about letting Eric spend so much money on me, but I loved it and her superiority complex was starting to piss me off.
I added, “It’s safe!” at the same time Eric said, “It’s temporary!” only making Pam and I ask in unison, “What?”
We all stood there waiting for someone to say something so I finally blurted out to Pam, “It was the highest rated vehicle for safety on the Edmunds website,” and then turned to Eric asking, “What do you mean ‘It’s temporary’?”
It was clear that Eric had spoken without thinking, given he refused to look me in the eye, and instead stared at Pam asking, “Are you here just to stir up shit or do you have an actual reason?”
When we both just silently stared him down he ran his fingers through his hair, frustrated, and said to Pam, “It was the safest car that was the least likely to get her carjacked at the school she’s going to work at.” He then looked at me and said, “It’s temporary because as soon as you’re done working I’m buying you a better car.”
While Pam was apparently happy with his explanation it only made me angrier and I said, “I don’t want a better car. I like that car and since it’s in my name it’s my choice. You can buy whatever in the hell you want, but I won’t drive it.”
I stomped into the house mumbling about highhanded car snobs, but Eric didn’t let me get far. He grabbed onto my arm and turned me around to face him looking like he was hurt as he said, “Sookie…I know you like that car and it’s why I didn’t say anything sooner, but I’m just not comfortable in it.” My ire started to rise again knowing how he felt about my tough shit, but he held his hand up saying, “Physically uncomfortable. I’m too tall; the car is too small…take your pick. I know we have another car, but I’d like for us both to be able to freely take whichever one is available. That’s not asking too much, is it?”
He did have a hard time climbing in and out of it, especially with his cast, but still having a little bit of fight left in me, I said, “You said better, not bigger.”
Eric pulled me closer and wrapped his arms around me as he shrugged and said, “The other cars on that website just happened to be bigger and bigger is better for me.” When my body relaxed in his embraced he kissed the top of my head and rubbed his crotch against my body as he whispered, “Besides, wouldn’t you agree that bigger is better?”
Does a bear shit in the woods?
I hated that his argument made sense because I really did love that car, but I wouldn’t hold onto it knowing how difficult it was for Eric to get in and out of it and acknowledged that by saying, “Can it still be black? I’d hate to have to come up with another name when ‘The Black Pearl’ just rolls off the tongue.”
A low grumble went through Eric’s chest, but he held me tighter and said, “Since I’m the only one that’ll be pillaging and plundering your booty you can call it whatever you want, but if I do my job right the only thing you’ll be calling out is my name. That seems to roll off your tongue just as easily.”
Why couldn’t I ever remember to buy panty liners?
Feeling the length of Eric’s body against my own was doing pleasant things to my libido and I, along with Wicked and Immoral, had completely forgotten about Pam’s presence until she said, “Must you rub on her like a cat in heat?”
I sighed, disappointed by the reminder that we weren’t alone, and snarked back, “Better that than us fucking like bunnies since you’re here.” I couldn’t even blame my hormones considering how rabbit-like we’d been prior to the accident and now that condoms were no longer an issue, we were constantly in some sort of state of undress. We had to get creative at times thanks to Eric’s cast, but that was the only thing that slowed us down.
Eric ignored Pam’s presence for the time being and rubbed his body against mine some more, with Eric Junior letting me know he was thinking along the same lines as me, as Eric said, “I could definitely go for another hop down the bunny trail.” He finally turned to Pam and asked impatiently, “What did you need?”
I looked over and saw the amused yet disgusted look on her face as she deadpanned, “Brain bleach.” When neither one of us said anything, she continued on saying, “But, since I haven’t had my own brain trauma to help me forget the last five minutes, I’ll have to learn to suffer through. Speaking of which, have there been any changes? Remember anything other than how to get into Sookie’s pants?”
“No,” Eric mumbled.
We’d talked a lot over the last few days with me telling him everything I could remember during his missing three weeks, but nothing seemed to stir his memories. I knew he was frustrated; I could see it in his eyes whenever I told him about the things we had done together and feeling his body tense up against mine, I looked up at him and offered, “Maybe we should go to the places we’d been together before.”
He looked down at me confused, asking, “What? Where?”
“We could go for another outing on the whale watching boat or take a ride down to Miramar. Maybe actually being there will jog your memories.” I wanted him to remember, if only so he wouldn’t feel cheated out of that time we’d had together, but now that I mostly had My Eric back, I wasn’t as desperate as I had been before for his memories to return. It seemed to me that we’d be okay whether they came back to him or not.
Eric shrugged saying, “It couldn’t hurt, but maybe we should wait until the cast comes off.” I watched a spark start to flair to life behind his eyes as he asked, “Do you think they’ll let me go for another ride in one of those fighter jets?”
I smiled back at him, loving that the amnesia that had been the cause of so much heartache for him was no longer keeping him down as much anymore. I hadn’t seen hide nor hair of Prick-ric since the night I’d blurted out that I was pregnant which was just fine by me. Squeezing him tighter I said, “I’ll give the boys a call and see if something can be worked out.”
Sam had called to check on me a few times while Eric was in the hospital and again after he’d come home, offering to do anything we might need. Both he and Terry were very sweet and when I mentioned to Eric wanting to have them over to dinner sometime soon, his hackles were a bit raised until I explained they were married to each other. Understanding dawned on him further once I explained who they were and how we’d met because it seemed Eric had donated a large sum of money to Terry’s service dogs organization before the accident. I had no idea he’d done that, but he’d seen the donation on his bank statements and after telling him about how much Terry’s own dog helped him cope with the trauma he’d suffered from the war, Eric was anxious to meet them in person again.
The only reason I hadn’t called them to make any plans yet was because outing Eric’s amnesia hadn’t been decided on, but it appeared it was one of Pam’s purposes for being at the house because she spoke up, saying, “I’ll be at the studio with you tomorrow morning so we can have a meeting with the producers and tell them about your amnesia. I’ll hold off on doing any kind of press release but I’m sure the news will leak eventually and then we’ll just issue a statement corroborating the facts, but treat it as a non-issue. At least we can thank the skank in today’s headlines for clawing at her fifteen minutes of fame by claiming to fuck the May of the May/December Hollywood power couple. It should keep the paps off of your back for a while.”
I no longer paid any attention to celebrity gossip news so I had no idea what she was talking about, but after having lived under the constant scrutiny of a camera lens for the last six weeks, I certainly felt bad for them. A marriage falling apart would be difficult enough to get through, but having it fall apart with the world watching had to be downright painful.
We’d moved into the kitchen by then and I didn’t have time to ask who she was talking about because Pam moved onto the next topic by asking, “And what have you decided to do about baby Pam?”
Eric spoke up saying, “We’re not naming it Pam,” at the same time I asked, “What do you mean ‘What are we going to do?’ We’re having it!” The thought of being a mother still scared the bejeezus out of me, but I still wanted our baby.
Pam rolled her eyes at both of us, but answered me saying, “Of course you’re having it. I meant, how long did you want to wait before making an announcement that you’re pregnant?”
“Christ on the crapper,” I mumbled. The only serious discussion Eric and I had about the baby so far was when I told him there was one. Every other discussion had been with us joking around about names and I was still more than a little freaked out over the concept that I would soon be a mother. Knowing that I would have Eric there to help me lessened my anxiety a little, but making official announcements would make it real when I could still pretend, at least for now, that it wasn’t. It was still more dream than reality in my mind, but I knew it was only a matter of time before I couldn’t pretend any longer. I wouldn’t be able to ignore the physical changes that my body would be going through, but it wasn’t because I didn’t want our baby because I did. I was just afraid of screwing it up.
Seeing Pam’s expectant look, I finally said, “Well we can’t say anything yet. I haven’t even told Gran and I don’t want her to find out about it from a magazine.”
She nodded her head agreeing and said, “The norm seems to be to wait at least until the three month mark before confirming anything.”
The words she offered made my anxiety levels go down and knowing we would be at Gran’s for Thanksgiving in just four weeks, which would only make me ten weeks along in the pregnancy, I said, “Okay. I can tell her in person when we go visit next month.” I knew she would be over the moon hearing she would be a great-grandmother and wanted to see her reaction for myself anyway. Hopefully the additional time would allow me to wrap my head around it all by then and I wouldn’t be so nervous about it anymore.
I still hated being in the spotlight though and grumbled, “But why do we have to say anything at all? Why can’t everyone just mind their own business and leave us alone?”
From all of the eye rolling Pam seemed to do I was surprised her equilibrium wasn’t affected as she asked, “Did you think no one would question or notice the beach ball you’ll be sporting underneath your clothes? You’ll be expected to say something. You married a celebrity. I would think you would’ve gotten used to your new reality by now.”
The thought of being as big as those whales Eric loved so much did nothing to enhance my quickly souring mood. He’d been with so many beautiful women over the years I still sometimes questioned what in the hell he saw in me and my old Quinn baggage about my weight came back in an instant with me turning my back on both of them so they wouldn’t see the tears forming in my eyes and I huffed out, “Well I would think you would’ve gotten used to my bitching about it by now.”
My insecurities continued to flood through me wondering if Eric would still find me attractive when he wouldn’t be able to get his ridiculously long arms around me any longer. I knew deep down he loved me, but he hadn’t actually said the words again and I really wanted to hear them right about then. I would hope that he wouldn’t be that shallow; that it wasn’t my body that he loved; that it was me, but we hadn’t been together long enough for me to know for sure how he would react. We’d never gotten around to discussing future children before the accident so I couldn’t even placate myself with the knowledge of how he would’ve felt back then.
I didn’t have long to ruminate because Pam’s voice broke through my thoughts as she said, “Here,” and I turned to see her hand Eric a stack of papers as she added, “Your script for this week’s show. Since you’re getting a late start you’ll be taping on Thursday night instead of Tuesday.”
“Thursday evening is when I have my doctor’s appointment,” I blurted out. It had been in the back of my mind; the far back since I was still trying to avoid freaking out.
“Well you don’t need Eric there, do you? It’s not like you’ll be having the baby that night,” Pam said. When I didn’t say anything we both looked at Eric who looked like he didn’t know what to say to either one of us, so Pam added, “Eric, you’ve been out for three weeks. They need you to be there for the taping. They’ve already bent over backwards to try and be accommodating with everything that’s happened. A lot of people are depending on you.”
I hated seeing him so torn and even though I wanted him to be there with me, I sucked it up and let him off the hook saying, “It’s fine. I can go by myself. I doubt there’ll be anything to see anyway.”
Anything other than how much the scale has gone up since my last appointment.
A part of me was hoping that he’d say to hell with the show and he would go with me, so I was a little disappointed when he looked relieved as he asked me, “Are you sure? Or if you really want me to be there, maybe you could change your appointment to another day?”
I supposed I could change my appointment to another day, but unfortunately my hormones were in charge at that moment and they would’ve preferred him to say he really wanted to be there, not did I really want him to be there, so I just shook my head saying, “No, it’ll be fine.” Suddenly needing to be by myself for a while I looked at them both and said, “Well I’ll leave you two to talk business. I need to go over my lesson plans for tomorrow.”
I ran up to our room so they wouldn’t see the tears falling from my eyes and tried to look over what I would be teaching the following day, but my head couldn’t focus on anything other than Eric not wanting to go with me to my appointment. I knew he had responsibilities and I didn’t really need him to be there with me, but I wanted him there. I wanted him to want to be there.
When my eyes could no longer focus on the papers in front of me I lay down on the bed trying to talk myself out of my funk. I didn’t realize I’d fallen asleep until I woke up with Eric curled around me. I could tell he was awake by the way he was breathing and I stretched out asking, “What time is it?” My energy levels were starting to pick back up, but at times it was nearly impossible to keep my eyes open. I was just thankful that my morning sickness seemed to be waning since I’d hate to throw up on one of my new students. If I did, I’d feel compelled to give them extra credit for their troubles.
“Almost seven,” he answered from behind me. “I ordered Chinese food for dinner. It got here a few minutes ago.”
I turned to look at him, still awestruck by his good looks. The pictures I’d seen of him modeling on billboards and in magazines were definitely drool worthy, but it was times like now, when his hair was messy and with whiskers on his face, that I thought he was the most handsome. This was the real Eric Northman and I was grateful that image of him was all mine.
Eric reached out and brushed his thumb along the skin underneath my eyes as he asked, “Why were you crying?”
My red eyes must have betrayed me, but my nap had done me some good because my hormones had backed down enough for me to not feel as distraught over the idea of going to my appointment alone. I still would’ve liked for him to be there, but I didn’t feel like crying anymore because he wouldn’t be.
I shrugged as best as I could while lying on my side and answered, “Just hormones.” I knew Pam was right; people were counting on Eric to be there and I didn’t want to make him feel bad by telling him the whole reason for my tears.
He stared back at me like he was trying to will the whole truth out of me, but when I didn’t say anything else he leaned over and placed a kiss on each of my closed eyes and one on my lips before pulling back and asking, “Just hormones?”
“Yep,” I answered a little too brightly. Hoping to deflect away from the topic, I added, “Chinese food sounds good.” I started to pull away from him so I could deflect my ass all the way downstairs before he could try to get any more information out of me, but he pulled me back for a kiss that curled my toes instead. His mouth, his hands, his whole body should be insured by Lloyd’s Of London and Wicked and Immoral were very happy at the sudden change in plans.
Our dinner had to be reheated.
It wasn’t until a couple of hours later when we were back in bed for the night with Eric curled up behind me that he asked, “Does it make me pussy whipped that I don’t want you to go to work tomorrow because I’ll miss you?”
My heart melted hearing his confession and I pulled his arms tighter around me as I said, “Even if it did, Spousal Pussy Privilege would preclude me from having to answer that question under cross examination.” When he didn’t say anything, I added, “I’ll miss you too, but you’ll probably be so busy at work tomorrow that you won’t even notice I’m not around.”
I barely heard him mumble, “I doubt that,” against my neck before he did his own deflecting, saying, “So, your first day tomorrow. Are you excited?”
I’d gone over the lesson plans enough over the last few days that I was confident in my ability to teach the subject, but my nervousness over teaching high school kids ebbed away at my confidence and I admitted, “Not so much excited as I am nervous. I’ll just be happy if I don’t shit my pants when I walk in there tomorrow morning.”
He snickered saying, “I’m sure everyone will be happy if you don’t shit your pants when you walk in there.” I chuckled along with him until he asked, “Why are you nervous? I thought it was what you wanted.”
“I don’t know. I guess I’m just nervous that they’ll all get mouthy at once and I won’t get a word in edgewise. They’re teenagers so it’s not like I can distract them with glitter and construction paper.” Then again, the snotty little shits at The Brigant Academy weren’t easily distracted by that either.
Eric nuzzled the back of my neck comfortingly and left a soft kiss behind before he jokingly asked, “Do you want to bring my X-Box with you just in case?”
I seriously contemplated it for a moment, even asking, “Do they make games about Pride and Prejudice or Cat’s Cradle?” If not, someone should really get working on that. “The first quarter is just about over and the AP English students have been studying British Literature, but we’ll be moving onto a more ‘world view’ of a particular historical period through literature and juxtaposing classics like Beowulf with Gardner’s Grendel.” My minor in English Lit was really going to come in handy.
Eric didn’t say anything for a long enough period of time that I wondered if he’d fallen asleep, so I was a little startled when he said, “You’re like…really smart, huh?”
“Well I’m not like Doogie Howser smart, but I get by okay,” I said. I’d always loved reading so the subject matter didn’t worry me as much as the student body did. I probably wouldn’t be as nervous thinking there wouldn’t be too many badasses in an AP English course if I hadn’t seen that girl Tara in the office. She would definitely keep me on my toes.
Eric hugged me tighter and just when I was about to ask him what he was thinking he spoke up saying, “Just when I think I know you, you say something that completely surprises me.”
Having an idea of the caliber of women from Eric’s past, especially after meeting Bambi Big Hole, his candid statement made me worry a little and I asked, “Is that a bad thing?” wondering if really smart equated to really boring. My nerd girl ways didn’t exactly make me popular with the boys when I was in high school.
My worry disappeared completely when Eric moved on top of me with the moonlight coming through the window allowing me to see the glint in his eyes as he said, “No, it’s a very good thing.” He showed me just how good for the rest of the night.