I stood in the open doorway at the front of the house and watched Sookie drive away until I could no longer see her car as she drove to work for her first day at school and the small ache I’d been feeling in my chest only grew larger.
What in the fuck was wrong with me?
It was ridiculous to feel so attached to her. We’d spent practically every moment of the last week together. I should’ve been sick of her by now. I should’ve been relieved she was gone, but I could still taste her cherry flavored lip gloss on my lips and yet it already felt like I hadn’t seen her in days. Knowing it would be another twelve hours before I would see her again only made it worse and I couldn’t go after her, either on foot or in my car, thanks to my cast, but I still wanted to.
Instead I just went back into the house, taking a cursory glance around the empty rooms to see where I might have left my balls, before begrudgingly heading upstairs to take a shower when I couldn’t find them. I’d already owned up, to myself at least, that I felt something for Sookie that I’d never felt for anyone else. Something about her drew me to her like a moth to a flame, but I couldn’t figure out what it was exactly and it was driving me crazy. I wanted my missing memories back hoping to find the answer, but that hadn’t happened yet either so I was stuck in limbo. I’d tried to reason it away thinking it was the knowledge that she was carrying my baby and maybe I was subconsciously trying to fill the role of a husband and father, but I knew that wasn’t it because I’d already felt something for her before she’d told me she was pregnant. I’d waited, all week long, for the feelings of weariness and dissatisfaction from spending so much time together to appear, but they never did. It was unprecedented for me, never having been with the same woman for more than a couple of days before I would tire of their presence, but with Sookie I couldn’t seem to spend enough time with her. Even as she slept at night I would find myself awake just to watch her, needing to see her more than I needed sleep itself, and I wondered if those feelings would ever go away.
Did I want them to?
It scared me. I’d learned early on in life to not depend on anyone; to not rely on someone else emotionally and instead finding ways to fill that void with shallow gratification by surrounding myself with people that would feed either my ego or my physical needs, but while Sookie did both of those things she also did something else that was completely foreign to me.
She just filled me.
She made me feel whole in a way that I’d never felt before and since I already felt lost knowing I’d be without her for twelve hours, I wondered what in the hell would happen if I knew I’d be without her forever. I even tried to blame it on the sex because, again, it was something completely new to me even though I’d fucked more than my fair share of the female population and if I never had to use another condom in my lifetime I would die a happy man, but I knew it was more than that. More than how we seemed to fit together perfectly; more than how she seemed to be able to read my mind and give me what I wanted before I even knew I’d wanted it; more than how I wanted nothing more than to drive her to the brink of insanity making her scream out my name.
Everything that had to do with Sookie, I just wanted MORE.
I was in the middle of rinsing the shampoo from my hair when it dawned on me and my eyes automatically opened, getting burned in the process, but the pain only let me know I wasn’t dreaming. It was real.
I was in love with Sookie.
There was no ‘probably’ or ‘maybe’ to go along with it. I was in love with her, but now that I’d come to that conclusion I was upset that she hadn’t said those very same words to me in the last few days. Granted, she had told me she loved me a few times and she hadn’t treated me any differently since then, but after spending so much time together I started to wonder if her feelings for me had changed. Was I different now than I was before the accident and she found she didn’t love this new version of me? Why didn’t she want to change her doctor’s appointment so I could go with her? Was she already making plans to go through it alone because she didn’t want me with her?
Because she didn’t want ME?
Suddenly feeling panicked by the seizing in my chest, I hurried through the rest of my shower hoping to be able to call and catch her before school started. I didn’t really want to tell her that I was in love with her for the second first time over the phone, but I’d do it if I had to. It didn’t matter though because by the time I’d gotten out the clock told me I was too late and I certainly didn’t want to let her know my feelings in a voicemail or text, so I would just have to wait until I saw her again later on that night.
Once I got dressed I moped around the house hoping I was wrong; hoping I was just reading into things and she did still love me now that I was falling apart at the thought of her not wanting me anymore and I’d completely forgotten that I had to go to work that day until Alcide arrived at the house to pick me up.
“What’s wrong with you?” he asked once I’d gotten into his truck.
“Nothing,” I mumbled back, not wanting to spill my guts to him knowing how much I would sound like a pussy and if I beat his ass for mocking me I’d have no way of getting to the studio. He just shrugged his shoulders and left me to silently stew, so I decided to fill the time by looking up information about pregnancies on my phone. I’d been too busy being fascinated by Sookie to give much thought to it beforehand, other than just knowing she was pregnant, but thoughts of her wanting to go through it alone made me sick. It was my baby she was carrying and I wanted to know what was going on with it. According to Sookie she must have gotten pregnant on our wedding night which made her a little over six weeks pregnant and I was amazed by what I’d found.
Our baby had a heartbeat even though it would only be about 1/17 of an inch long. Its eyes, ears, and mouth were beginning to form along with the buds where its arms and legs would grow. The website I was looking at said morning sickness could be stronger now and Sookie still had a few bouts of it, but it didn’t seem to affect her constantly. There were recommendations for the dad that said I should keep crackers by the bed and encourage her to eat a few before getting up in the morning and that she should eat more protein and carbohydrates along with drinking plenty of water, so once we got to the studio I made up a shopping list for Alcide to pick up those items and drop them off at the house. Maybe if I showed Sookie that I wanted to be a part of her life, and by extension a part of our baby’s life, she would want me there too.
After Alcide left there was a near constant stream of people coming in and out of my dressing room to welcome me back. One visitor in particular made me confused because I was sure she’d wandered into the wrong room and thought she was just confused since she couldn’t have been more than five years old. I’d never spent much time around kids and seeing her standing there made me wonder if Sookie and I were having a boy or a girl. The pretty little redhead in front of me was so tiny I could almost imagine what it would be like to see a miniature Sookie instead and knew I’d be completely fucked. It would be impossible for me to not be wrapped around her little finger.
She stood there silently smiling at me and I found myself unable to not smile in return as I asked, “What’s your name?”
Eye rolling must be a trait all females were born with because that was exactly what she did as she giggled, but before I could wonder why I was shocked instead when she’d walked over and climbed into my lap, careful of my cast, and began speaking to me in sign language as though I’d known her for her whole life. Apparently she’d missed me and had been sad when she heard about my accident which only made me more confused as I selfishly hoped I hadn’t somehow acquired a daughter during my missing three weeks that I’d known nothing about.
Sookie would’ve told me, right?
It was probably wrong of me to feel that way if she was in fact my daughter, but parenting was something I only wanted to share with Sookie. The little girl pulled out a folded up piece of paper from her pocket and handed it to me that turned out to be a picture she’d drawn for me. At least I didn’t have to ask what her name was again because she’d painstakingly written ‘Jessica’ at the bottom in red crayon. I could barely take my eyes from her since she was signing a mile a minute and I couldn’t see any resemblance to me in her features so I signed back to her asking her to remind me how we met. My question was met with another eye roll that could’ve made me question whether or not she was actually Pam’s daughter until she giggled as though it was a game and humored me by telling me we’d met at the shelter. Apparently I was the only one there she’d ever met that had known enough sign language to ask her what she’d wanted to eat and I’d later made up a story for her about Princess Sookie and her friends that consisted of squirrels and bunnies.
Please Dear God, tell me I hadn’t done coke again.
“I’m sorry,” I heard a voice say from the doorway and looked up seeing a woman that had to be Jessica’s mother given their likeness to one another. I didn’t recognize her so I was fairly sure I’d never fucked her and relaxed a little as she continued, “I didn’t realize she’d run in here, but she was so excited to hear that you were coming back to work today and she wanted to give you the picture she’d made for you.”
I tried to smile back at the woman who spoke to me like she knew me, but since it was only a matter of time before everyone knew anyway I finally said, “I guess you’re Jessica’s mother?” Seeing her confused expression I admitted, “I’m sorry, but I don’t remember you.” Motioning at Jessica in my lap, I added, “Either of you. I lost the last three weeks of my memories before the accident and from what Jessica’s told me that seems to be when we met?”
“Oh my God!” she exclaimed sympathetically. “I’m so sorry. Um, yes, we met a couple of weeks before your accident. You actually got me a job working here at the studio after she charmed you at the shelter,” she said with her eyes lovingly falling to her daughter. “My name’s Holly.”
I felt good knowing that I’d helped them out and smiled genuinely saying, “How could anyone not be charmed by her?” I looked down and saw bright green eyes and a big smile staring back up at me with her perfectly content to sit there while I talked to her mother and my thoughts again drifted to Sookie and our baby and I wondered what we’d be having.
Whatever it was we sure as hell weren’t naming it Jack or Pam.
Holly and Jessica had barely walked out of my dressing room a couple of minutes later when the last person I expected to see walked through the door.
Bill Fucking Compton.
Before I could say a word the asshole smiled at me like we were the best of friends and said, “Good to have you back Eric. I couldn’t help overhearing a moment ago as I was walking by, but did you say you’d lost your memories leading up to your accident?”
I’d seen that look on his face before when we’d played poker together. He was trying to bluff me and while I wanted to beat the shit out of him, I wanted to find out what it was he was up to and I pulled on my own poker face, replying, “Yep, three whole weeks. I can’t remember anything from the time I was on my way to Vegas for that poker tournament until when I woke up in the hospital.”
By the look in his eyes you’d think I just told him I’d discovered the cure for boring assholes so he’d no longer have to be one and I had to clench my fists so I wouldn’t reach for him when he said, “Really…three weeks…so I guess you don’t remember getting married to Sookeh then either?”
After knowing what he’d done to her in our kitchen, just hearing her name cross his lips, no matter how fucked up his version of it was, made me see red, but my curiosity overrode my anger for the moment and I drew on every acting skill I possessed to appear unaffected as I replied, “Nope.” I’d been told I didn’t remember the wedding even without the amnesia, so that didn’t really bother me and I managed to force a smile as I added, “But at least that’s on video.”
The creepy fucker made my skin crawl as he licked his lips repeating, “Really…” I restrained myself from getting up from my chair knowing I wouldn’t be able to resist throwing the first punch and watched him physically shake off whatever his thoughts were before saying, “Well that’s a shame, but now that you’re back to normal I suppose I can count on the Wednesday night poker games being back on?”
That was the last fucking straw and what little patience I’d had left me with nothing but tunnel vision that began and ended with Bill Compton’s bloody beaten body beneath me. All pretense was gone as I stood up asking, “Why Bill? Did you think my wife wouldn’t have told me how you acted at the last poker game? Did you think I’d invite you back into my home so you could try and force yourself on my wife again?”
He took one step back for every step I took forward and my anger only intensified when I realized he’d done all that while she’d been pregnant. My protective instincts were screaming at me to rip his head from his shoulders, but my initial shock over his next words halted my next step.
He’d squared his shoulders and the slight fear he’d shown at my advance was replaced with a predatory stare as he said, “Don’t act like you knew her before you two shacked up. Your marriage is nothing but a sham and we both know it. You were never one to keep them around for long in the past, so I would think you’d be sick of her by now and you’ve never complained before when I’ve taken up with your leftovers. Let me have her and it can remain our little secret.”
My fist connected with his face before my brain ever made the decision to punch him and I hadn’t even noticed Pam’s presence until I heard her yell, “You mother fucker!” as I landed an upper cut to his jaw. He fell to the ground with me on top of him and I barely registered his blow to my ribs, too lost in my own rage as I continued to rain down blow after blow on top of him. I knew Pam had even managed to get in a kick to his ribs, thanks to the shiny red stiletto that appeared in my line of sight, before the other crew members came running into the room to pull us apart.
Once we were separated Bill was helped out of the room, a completely blood soaked mess, sputtering he was going to sue me, but hearing his new lisp made me smile hoping I’d knocked his teeth loose. I tried to catch my breath and winced finally feeling the effects from when he’d punched my side and I glanced over at Pam and said, “I think he might’ve re-broken my rib.”
“Well I think I might’ve permanently marked my new Louboutin’s, but it was worth it after hearing what that fucker said,” she replied, seemingly unaffected by my new injuries. She looked up and smiled brightly at me adding, “I won’t even charge you for them.”
“Well gee…thanks Pam,” I deadpanned while holding onto my side. Remembering everything Compton had said moments earlier, I had the leftover gawkers leave my dressing room and once the door was shut I turned to Pam and asked, “How did he know that Sookie and I didn’t know each other before we’d gotten married?” From what I was told, the only other people that knew were Alcide and Sookie’s friend Amelia who I hadn’t met, again, since she was still somewhere in Europe.
“Fuck if I know,” she said while she continued to mourn over her scuffed shoe. “Maybe it was just a lucky guess since he knew what you were like before. It’s not like you ever had a steady girlfriend before Sookie.”
That was the understatement of the year and it almost made sense, but I still didn’t believe it. The way he’d looked at me when he’d said it was like he’d known something factual, but we’d never been friends so I knew I wouldn’t have ever confided in him at any point during my missing time. I didn’t have time to think about it more though because the producers of the show came in wanting to know what happened. I was lucky I’d had Pam and another crew member that had been passing by as witnesses that had overheard some of what Bill had said and it seemed the producers had taken a liking to Sookie when they’d met her previously and were almost as outraged as I had been. It looked like taping that week’s episode would be put off for at least another week because Bill was getting fired and they needed to do rewrites to the script and hire his replacement. When Alcide came back from running the errands I’d given him, he was just as livid hearing what had happened especially since he’d been at the house on the night that fucker had tried to come on to Sookie and Compton was lucky he’d already left the building because Alcide was looking to put another beat down on him. It seemed I wasn’t the only one that felt protective of Sookie; she unknowingly had formed her own little group of protectors.
Once Alcide had returned from what he’d called his prick-hunt empty handed, Pam made him take me back to the doctor’s office to get new x-rays done while she went for much needed shoe therapy. It turned out the only damage I’d suffered was a fresh bruise on top of the one I’d already had, so Alcide dropped me off at the house with a new bottle of Tylenol only four short hours after I’d left that morning.
Being home again brought back all of the things I’d been feeling earlier that day and I made sure to bring the crackers up to our room and set them next to Sookie’s side of the bed before wandering back downstairs trying to find something to do to calm my nerves while I waited for her to get home. Listening to music had always helped me in the past and I remembered seeing my iPod in my office a few days earlier so I got it and went back into the den to put it into the docking station in there. I was scrolling through my playlists trying to decide what I wanted to listen to when I noticed there was a video uploaded onto it and it only stuck out because it was the only one. I only ever uploaded music so my curiosity had me clicking on it to see what it was and for what felt like the umpteenth time that day, I was shocked.
It was a sex tape.
A sex tape with Sookie.
Sookie and I had made a sex tape together.
I watched it three times before I thought to plug it into my laptop so I could watch it on a larger screen. I watched it several more times before I connected my laptop to the large plasma screen TV in the den so I could see it even better. I’d never made a sex tape before knowing all of the women I’d ever been with were disposable to me and I didn’t need any reminders of our time together to end up on the internet, but once I got passed the actual sex part of the video I was more stirred by the sentiment that had gone along with it.
From what I could gather from our dialogue the video had been both of our ideas, just separately. It was just more evidence of her being able to predict what I both wanted and needed without me having to tell her. I’d already experienced firsthand how playful and sexy she could be without even trying, but seeing her love me was something else entirely and both seeing and hearing how I’d loved her back blew me away. I could tell by the way I looked at her on the video that my feelings for her now were the same as they were then. I wanted to possess every part of her because she already possessed every part of me and if I hadn’t already come to the conclusion that I was in love with her, this would’ve been all the evidence I would’ve needed to see. Hearing her tell me on the video that she loved me had me craving to hear those words from her lips again, but hearing myself saying those same words back to her made me realize that she deserved to hear them first.
I’d outright begged her to never leave me and made her promise to always work out whatever problems arose between us and she’d kept that promise in spades, putting up with more than she should’ve had to after everything that had happened. I’d been such a dick to her when I first woke up questioning every little thing about her, but she never gave up on me.
She never gave up on us.
I was so caught up in my own revelations that I didn’t realize how much time had passed, nor did I hear Sookie enter the house until I heard her say from behind me, “What are you doing home?” I turned to see her staring at the TV where our sex tape was playing for the hundredth time and she cringed adding, “Oh my God…are you watching our iPorn?”
She was close enough for me to touch her and yet still too far away and I reached behind me and grabbed onto her hand, pulling her over the back of the couch until I finally had her in my lap and she giggled until she saw the serious expression on my face. I was once again afflicted with tunnel vision that began and ended with the woman in my arms and without one ounce of doubt I looked into her eyes and said, “I love you.”