“Sookie?” I called out as soon as I walked into the house. And even though I was stating the obvious, I added, “I’m home!”
I’d had no choice but to go in to the studio that day. It was the first time I’d been back since the accident. The show had been forced into a temporary hiatus, while I’d been with Sookie in the hospital. But now that she’d been released and was relatively healthy, they’d given me one week at home with her before they needed me to get back to work.
For a hot second I’d considered taking her away somewhere, even if it was just for a few days. Maybe to someplace where she’d always wanted to go, like Australia.
Given she’d already told me Aussie accents were one of her favorites, the fact I was willing to surround us in men – alright, and women – who all spoke in a way that got her hot and bothered spoke volumes.
I would do pretty much anything to make her happy.
Except give her up.
I wouldn’t do that.
I hadn’t been accused of being selfish for nothing.
Thankfully though, Sookie hadn’t seemed as though she wanted to be rid of me. It was a trend I intended to keep going, which was why I hadn’t whisked her away on a private jet to her Fantasy Island.
It was surrounded by water on all sides, so – as far as I was concerned – it was just a really big island.
Full of dicks whose Aussie accents made her swoon.
But if I knew one thing about Sookie it was that big and flashy didn’t do anything for her.
The diamond ring debacle in the kitchen between her and Pam was still fresh in my mind.
Even if Sookie couldn’t remember it, I remembered enough for the two of us.
I wouldn’t make that same mistake twice.
But after talking more with Gran, while Sookie had still been out of it in the hospital, I had a better idea of what kind of ring she would really want and had already gotten the ball rolling in turning it into a reality.
As much as I hated that she didn’t remember me – and as much as I worried she’d have more sense this time around and realize she could do a hell of a lot better than me – a part of me liked the idea of getting a do over.
I had a second chance at giving her the storybook romance she deserved.
Someone who had bluebirds singing on her shoulders and baby bunnies and squirrels at her feet deserved no less.
But I didn’t remember any of the Prince Charmings having a job and being under contract to report to work under threat of a lawsuit.
Not that I was any Prince Charming.
But I would be for her.
And I refused to believe I was Grumpy in this scenario – even though that’s exactly what I was – when it was off to work I go that morning.
I was much too tall to be considered a dwarf.
Sookie was still feeling out of sorts without her memories and the pregnancy seemed to be making her more tired than usual, so even though I would have preferred having her go with me, I didn’t give her any argument when she’d said she would rather stay home that day and get some rest.
I had a feeling the real reason behind her want to stay home had more to do with avoiding all of the gawking that she would’ve faced had she gone with me. She’d hated being under the spotlight thanks to my fame before the accident.
Now she’d get twice the attention because of the media coverage over the accident and she didn’t even have the memories to go with it of how she managed to handle it all before.
The last thing I wanted to do was push her into doing something that would remind her what a chore being married to me could be.
I had enough strikes against me thanks to my checkered past.
I didn’t need any more.
Not recognizing the car in the driveway when I’d pulled in, at first I thought it may have belonged to her new bodyguard, thinking he’d stopped by for a formal introduction. I’d pushed back the first meeting, not wanting to upset her when we’d been getting along so well. But as much as I didn’t want to make her angry with me, this was a point I wasn’t willing to concede.
I’d nearly lost her once.
I wasn’t about to make that same mistake twice, now that I knew I had twice as much to lose.
So I mentally prepared myself for her reaction when she saw me, but my ass was puckering for an entirely different reason because I was completely unprepared to see who was sitting across from her at the kitchen table and asked, “What’s going on?”
Sookie turned to give me a small tired smile and greeted me with, “Eric. Your dad stopped by to see how I was doing.”
My one word response was more of an accusation than an acknowledgment, but Sookie couldn’t remember what he’d been like before the accident.
I remembered enough for the two of us.
And I still couldn’t figure out why he’d been acting like he actually gave a rat’s ass about what happened to either one of us since the accident, but I’d been more concerned about Sookie’s welfare than whatever his ulterior motives might be.
I was sure he had them though.
I just didn’t know what they were.
What I did know was that he only cared about himself.
After all, it was a trait I knew I’d inherited.
Up until Sookie came along, that is.
But seeing him there now, he’d forced my hand into acknowledging his existence, thereby forcing me to focus on him.
“Really,” my father repeated, without his usual bravado. Instead he both sounded and looked older than I could recall.
Maybe he had a terminal illness?
Liver disease came to mind. With all of the vodka he’d consumed over the years, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see an Absolut label slapped across it in his x-ray.
So was that his ulterior motive?
He needed a liver transplant and wanted mine?
I honestly doubted mine would be all that much healthier, but it was at least twenty-five years younger, so that had to count for something.
But while urban legends flashed through my mind, with images of me carved up and bloody, lying in a motel bathtub full of ice, my eyes scanned his hands looking for a scalpel, as he stood up from the table and looked back at Sookie, while he said, “But now that Eric’s here, I really should get going.”
“Are you sure?” she asked, with a small sincere smile. “You’re welcome to stay for dinner.”
No he wasn’t.
I knew for a fact we didn’t have any fava beans or a nice chianti.
At least I didn’t think we did.
Who knows what Sookie’s Gran had shopped for while she’d been visiting.
But I knew we had plenty of knives.
And a bathtub.
His eyes darted my way, making me wonder for a moment if I’d said my thoughts out loud, but he turned back towards Sookie and returned her small smile replying, “Thanks for the invite, but I’ll have to take a rain check. I have somewhere I need to be soon and I can’t be late.”
A meeting with your black market butcher of a doctor perhaps?
Or was the Liquor Mart running a two for one special?
Maybe Paprika needed to be picked up at the free clinic, after having her festering cunt flushed out with antibiotics?
But I kept my mouth shut – and possession of my liver – as I silently watched, while he said his goodbyes and walked out the door.
“What was he doing here?”
My tone sounded harsh – and accusatory – even to my own ears, so it was no wonder that Sookie shrunk back into her seat, while she cautiously answered, “I told you. He was just checking up on me.”
I chewed on her words like they were fava beans, with each one being spit back out into my mental bullshit folder. But knowing I sounded like an asshole, I forced myself to calm down and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you.”
Then she reminded me her sometimes telepathy hadn’t disappeared with her memories by calmly asking, “Why do you look so unconvinced? Why wouldn’t your father want to stop by and see how I was doing, after everything that’s happened?”
“Are you sure you want to know?” I asked in return, hoping she wouldn’t, but all the while knowing she would.
She may have forgotten everything about us, but I remembered everything about her.
One of those things being that Sookie had an enquiring mind.
She wanted to know.
Which was one of the reasons why she’d only known me through the pages of a magazine.
Ones that didn’t put me in a very good light.
But that was no one’s fault but my own. I wanted to do better though.
Mostly for her, but for me too.
It wasn’t until she came into my life that I saw another one was possible for me and I wanted it.
I wanted to be that guy who actually deserved someone like her.
And it may have been selfish of me, but this wasn’t how I’d imagined our night going. I’d hoped to get her to relax.
To make her laugh.
To make her blush.
To make her see why she’d fallen in love with me the first time, when she couldn’t remember anything about me now that she hadn’t read in a magazine.
But seeing her nod the enquiring mind at the top of her beautiful head, I had no choice but to fill her in on the not-so-nice reality of her previous encounters with my father, along with a few of my own where she was concerned that ended with me firing him as my manager.
And because that wasn’t bad enough, my mouth wouldn’t stop the verbal vomit, so I ended up throwing in everything else I’d already confided to her once before.
The flowers I’d left out for my mother.
Her subsequent return and departure from my life and therefore the reason why I eventually ended up in rehab myself.
And the reason why I suspected I wouldn’t make a very good liver donor.
But she wanted to know who I really was, so I told her all of it.
The good. The bad. The ugly.
I didn’t leave any of it out.
As much as I didn’t want to scare her away by dumping all of it on her at once, I hadn’t seen any point in keeping any of it hidden from her, when she might remember it all on her own at any given moment.
I had no idea how long I’d been talking, lost in my own memories as they fell from my lips, when Sookie brought me back to the here and now.
I hadn’t even noticed when she’d left her seat until she put herself back down on my lap and wrapped her arms around me, burying her face against my neck and breathing out, “I’m so sorry you had to go through that.”
I wasn’t sure why I was so surprised by her words or the fact she was trying to comfort me.
It was exactly what my Sookie would have done.
She hadn’t judged me the first time I’d told her everything either.
But it was still nice to be reminded that my Sookie was still in there somewhere, so my arms went around her waist and my face buried itself against her neck, with my soft spoken acknowledgement of, “It was a long time ago.”
I knew I needed to let all of it go for my own sake, but knowing and doing were two different things.
We stayed that way for a while and little by little I could feel the tension leaving my body.
At least it had been up until she shifted in my lap.
It had been a long time since we’d last had sex too, but having her so close, my body was remembering it all.
And responding in the same way it always did whenever I was around her.
Given where she was sitting, I couldn’t exactly hide my reaction, so I didn’t know how to answer her next question when she asked, “Are you hungry?”
Just not for food.
However, knowing that would be a woo-hole response, I only said, “You should eat. You’re growing a Northman and we tend to get big.”
“So I feel,” she whispered in a way that made me think she hadn’t meant to say it out loud.
Pulling back only far enough to look into her eyes – because I couldn’t trust that my ears hadn’t just heard what I wanted to hear – I was mshangao’d yet again.
I knew that look.
I’d seen it on my Sookie’s face plenty of times.
God only knows what she was seeing on my face, but I stopped caring when a second later her lips were on mine.
We’d kissed before.
Both before and after she’d lost her memories.
But there was something decidedly different and yet completely familiar in the way she kissed me now.
And before I could figure out whether or not she was kissing me out of pity, I decided I didn’t care because her hands were suddenly everywhere.
One snaked its way up the front of my shirt, while the other moved lower and stroked me through my jeans, with Sookie well on her way to giving me a stroke.
It would be the best way to die.
So I cursed my own memories of just a few nights earlier and my mouth for overriding my lower brain functions by putting a halt to her attack with my own hands and panting out, “What are you doing?”
She’d told me she didn’t want to move too fast. We’d been sharing the same bed every night, but the farthest we’d gone in it was me waking up with a raging hard-on every morning and seeing how far I could arch my back to keep it away from her.
Before long, I was sure I would be a walking talking permanently shaped letter ‘S’.
‘S’ for Sookie.
But it would kill me if she ended up regretting anything we did – if we moved too fast – but if she kept moving her body on top of mine, I would end up showing her another kind of fast that she probably wouldn’t want to happen either.
I know I didn’t.
“I just…you just…and I…” she stammered. And then looking like I’d struck her, she shied away, trying to pull herself free from my grasp, with the rejection she felt all over her face, as she said, “I’m sorry.”
No part of me was willing to let any part of her go, so she didn’t get anywhere and remained on my lap for me to explain, “I don’t want you to be sorry. That’s why I stopped us from going too far. I want you to be sure you want to be with me.”
Hearing the words coming from my own lips, I knew I’d officially grown another set of them.
I was a pussy.
There was no denying it.
“It’s all I can think about,” she huffed before rambling out, “So what does that say about me? I wake up in a hospital room, married to my teenage dreamboat and knocked up with his little dinghy, with absolutely no memory of any of it. But all I can think about is that I want to find out what it’s like to sink onto your mast and sail off into the sunset.”
Her hand slapped over her mouth in the next moment, I assumed when her brain caught up to what it had been saying.
And then she used her free hand to slap over mine when I couldn’t stop the laughter that came out through my lips.
Her skin was already flushed from our impromptu make-out session, but she seemed to turn an even deeper shade of red when I kissed the palm of her hand, before pulling it away from my lips and smiling while I teased, “I know you don’t remember, so I’ll warn you now. There is nothing little about my dingy.”
“You know what I meant,” she gasped, trying for outraged and epically failing, thanks to her laughter.
“That you’re horny?” I grinned, laughing again when she blushed even more. But not wanting to make her too uncomfortable – no matter how uncomfortable my jeans were at the moment – I said, “I’d like to take all of the credit, but from what I’ve read, your hormones are likely to blame.”
“Those whores are moaning alright,” she agreed, with a small smile. Then her expression turned confused when she said, “But it’s not just that. You feel familiar to me. The way you smell. How I feel whenever we’re up close and personal like this. It’s like I feel whole when I’m with you in a way that I can’t explain. But I have no reason – that I can remember – for why I feel this way.”
My newly pussified heart went pitter patter with her words, all but admitting she still loved me.
She just couldn’t remember why.
But knowing she could easily tip towards the crying end of the spectrum, I hoped to at least put a smile on her face by teasing, “It’s because I’m so damn irresistible.”
She had enough issues to deal with. The last thing I wanted her worrying about was why she felt the way she did around me.
Wanting me, like I still wanted her.
Nodding her head with a grave expression, she somberly added, “And so humble.”
Now staring at the front of my shirt, her eyes peeked up at mine through her eyelashes, with the corners of her lips twitching when she added, “You were voted Humblest Man Alive five times for a reason.”
She barely finished her dig at me before dissolving into a fit of giggles, until she eventually gasped out, “I hope the baby doesn’t have your head. I’ll need C-section to get it out. But if it’s a boy we can name it Jack.”
“Like Jack Sparrow?” I asked, feeling my eyes narrow into a glare, knowing just how much she liked drunken dirty pirate mother fuckers.
“Nope,” she snorted, taking a second to wipe the tears from her eyes. “Like the clown from the burger chain Jack In The Box. His head is huge, just like yours. Any clown baby of yours is never going to make its way through my box.”
Despite the glare I was still aiming her way, I could feel the smile that had been plastered to my face the entire time she’d been laughing.
Because just like that, everything I’d been feeling about my dad and his possible mutilation motives had disappeared.
So I guess it was only to be expected when my tongue disappeared too.
Into the depths of Sookie’s still open mouth.
She seemed taken by surprise for a brief second before she decided to go all in, by holding onto my head and returning my kiss. Turning her body enough so that her leg could slip over the other side of me, it left her body straddling mine in the chair, with my hands automatically moving to hold onto her hips.
Sookie might not have remembered anything about our relationship before the accident, but she sure as hell remembered how to move her body on top of mine.
And I remembered all too well what it felt like to be inside of her.
But then I remembered I didn’t.
Not without a condom on.
The unopened box I’d pulled out of my luggage the morning after we’d woken up together in my hotel room, with no memory of the night before, and the fact we were going to be parents in a little over seven months was proof enough I’d been inside of her at least once without a condom on.
But even without my memory of that night, I had no doubt I’d been in her more than once.
There was no way I would’ve been satisfied with just one bite of Sookie’s apple.
And even with my eyes closed, I could feel them rolling into the back of my head at the thought of being inside of her now, without a thin layer of latex coming between me cumming inside of her.
It was enough to make my head explode.
And my lower head nearly explode.
But there would be no point in wearing one now.
We were both clean, free of any STD’s.
She was already pregnant.
I would actually be able to feel how soft and wet and hot…
“We have to stop,” I panted into her mouth.
But while my mouth might have been saying one thing, my body was saying another because even as I’d said the words, I’d gripped her hips and thrust mine against her center, with hers doing the same thing.
“We do?” she asked, never removing her lips from mine and instead grinding her body back against mine, when she added a moaned out, “Why?”
Our kiss was broken when my t-shirt was suddenly being pulled over the top of my head and when I found myself staring back into her eyes, I couldn’t remember anything that we’d been talking about.
But I was pretty sure – whatever it was – it had seemed important, so I asked, “Why…what?”
“Huh?” she uttered, with her eyes moving down to stare at my bare chest and her fingertips trailing their way all over it.
With or without her memories, it seemed that hadn’t changed.
Sookie liked what she saw.
And watching her eyefucking me was too much for me to resist, when added to the thought of being able to take her as God had intended.
I hadn’t actually ever read the bible, but I was sure it was in there somewhere.
Probably with a few ‘thous’ and ‘shalts’ thrown in.
So with my willpower long gone, my mouth descended on hers again, with my arms banding around her body and her legs banding around mine, right as I stood up.
We could – and would – fuck in the kitchen later.
But for now, I wanted our third first time to take place in our bedroom.
As God had intended.