Staring at Sookie across the crowded room, I simply watched as she tilted her head back and laughed at whatever she’d been told. But when she righted it again, her eyes immediately found mine and the smile she gave me made my heart skip a beat.
Christ, she was beautiful.
I don’t know how long we’d been staring at one another, but our silent conversation was interrupted by the sound of Tray’s voice asking, “How in the fuck did you hide it for so long?”
“Hide what?” I asked and only turned to face him when Sookie’s attention was brought back to the woman she was talking to.
An about to burst Amelia, who was days away from her due date, and no doubt regaling Sookie with Tales of the Terrible Pregnancy.
But I preferred that to hearing about her mystical powers, having sensed Sookie and I were in a relationship before I’d yelled it out at the ballpark.
And she pointedly ignored the fact she hadn’t sensed Sookie telling her parents that very thing moments before I attacked Andre at the plate.
In spite of the fact Amelia had been sitting right next to Sookie in the stands.
She blamed the cardboard tray of French fries she’d been in the midst of attacking for not sensing Sookie’s conversation.
Just like she blamed the not cardboard Tray she was married to for how wide her ass had supposedly gotten.
I hadn’t really noticed, but I would say the blame lied squarely with the French fries.
Not that any of us were brave enough to say that to her face.
Run into a burning building?
Tell a pregnant woman she was eating Idaho into a potato shortage?
No fucking way.
We were brave.
We weren’t stupid.
But glancing back at Sookie and seeing the glint coming from her left hand, my mind filled in the blanks for Tray’s question, so I answered him with, “Sookie isn’t the type to go searching through my pockets.”
If she had been, she would’ve found that ring a lot sooner than when it was finally revealed underneath a red paper umbrella on top of the sandcastle.
But the memory of that night made me wonder how Hunter was doing.
If I had his address, I would’ve sent him a picture of her that was taken a few hours earlier.
The one where she’d been walking down the aisle towards me – in her white dress and on her father’s arm – on her way to becoming Mrs. Eric Northman.
And I would’ve personalized it with the caption:
“You’re too little and too late, Little Man.
Not Sorry, Her Husband.”
But he was still a child, so it was okay.
Or so I reasoned with myself.
Besides, I was childishly giddy that we’d finally made it.
We were married.
And I didn’t even have to dress in drag for the ceremony.
It was a good day to be me.
“I don’t want to know what Sookie would’ve been looking for in your pockets,” Tray chuckled, reminding me he was still standing beside me. “The way you two have been all over each other ever since the accident, I’d say you’re lucky to have family on the force or else you two would’ve been arrested for public indecency by now.”
“Yeah,” I grinned.
It was great.
I still wouldn’t change anything about how we got to where we were, but being ‘out’ certainly had its privileges.
Touching and kissing Sookie whenever in the hell I wanted to was one of them.
“That is what I’m talking about,” he laughed and knocked into me to get my attention. “That goofy fucking look you get on your face every time you even think about her. How in the hell did you hide that for so long?”
“I did it for her,” I shrugged.
I’d do anything for her.
Sappy but true.
“I get it,” he nodded. “Why you did it and why she felt like she had to hide it. But even if Corbett hadn’t been your number one fan from the get go I’m sure he would’ve converted by now. That bar of his is packed every night of the week.”
That was no exaggeration.
Ever since the accident six months earlier, when the lines between red and blue had been mixed into a vibrant shade of purple, the guys from our side of the tracks had adopted Corbett’s bar as their new hangout.
You could walk in there any night of the week and see both cops and firemen sitting together and laughing with one another.
The quips about each other’s professions hadn’t ceased – in fact, if anything, they’d only increased – but we all had a better sense of humor when it came to one another.
Except for Quinn.
No one on either side liked him.
But everyone on both sides liked my newly minted brother-in-law – and loved to tease him even more – which was why I wasn’t surprised to hear Jake animatedly say, “And then Uncle Jase went…”
I should’ve guessed he would start calling him Uncle Jase now.
Jake had been calling Sookie ‘Mommy’ since I’d first woken up in the hospital.
Luckily for him, she thought he was funny.
And even luckier for him, I’d been too beat up at the time to get out of bed and beat his ass before we’d all become desensitized to it.
But looking over at him now, Jake made some sort of Kung Fu “Hi yaw” sound and lifted his leg up Karate Kid style, reenacting what I’d eventually remembered about that day inside of Pale Rider.
If I’d known they were never going to let the subject drop, I would’ve claimed permanent amnesia.
But since I was within striking distance of him, I just reached out and shoved on his right shoulder, making him tip over to his left side, while I shook my head and said, “If he’s your uncle now, that means he has a family obligation to beat your ass when you’re being one. Are you sure you want to piss him off?”
Jason was one of my best friends now. But even if we hadn’t bonded over everything that had happened that day, I suspected we would’ve gotten there eventually.
To paraphrase Sookie, “The bromance was strong in us.”
We hung out so much she’d started teasing that maybe I’d hitched my wagon to the wrong Stackhouse.
But now that I’d legally hitched my wagon to her, she’d have to find something new to tease us about.
I doubted it would take her very long though.
Because we would undoubtedly give her ample ammunition, since Jase and I tended to revert into two twelve year olds whenever we were around each other.
But same sex marriages were legal now, so she couldn’t claim she’d won me by default.
Jake just stared back at me before giving me a mock scowl and marching across the reception hall, looking as ridiculous as he sounded when he yelled out at the top of his lungs, “Mommy!”
And Tray and I shook our heads in unison, seeing both Sookie and Amelia turning around, with them trying to figure out which mommy he was calling for.
They both answered to it now when hearing it coming from him.
Walking up to Sookie, I could see him mouth the words, “Daddy’s being mean to me.”
And then he leaned down and whispered something in her ear, that I couldn’t see or hear, that made her laugh.
And made him look back at me and waggle his eyebrows.
“That can’t be good,” Tray chuckled.
He was right, of course.
Because in the next moment, Jake was leading her out onto the dance floor, and grinned at me the whole way there.
“Now he’s gonna get two ass beatings,” I smirked. “One from me and one from Jason.”
“He’s gotta fall asleep sometime,” Tray smiled. “We’ll shave his eyebrows off when he does.”
“They took so long to grow back the last time,” I laughed. “He’s been sleeping with one of those blind fold eye mask things on ever since.”
But he hadn’t asked Sookie about breastfeeding again, which was how he’d ended up looking like a fucked up Bond villain in the first place.
“You better go cut in on their dance before Jake loses more than his eyebrows,” Tray chuckled warningly.
And looking over at them, I could see what he was talking about.
Jake was doing his Patrick Swayze routine, dirty dancing his way to an early grave.
But one of the other perks about no longer having to hide my relationship with Sookie was the sense of calm I had when it came to her and other men.
Men other than Quinn or Andre, with the latter of the two proving he was at least smart enough to transfer to another station, while I’d still been off from work for the two months it took for me to recuperate from the accident.
But that didn’t mean he was out of the woods if Jason or I ever ran across him again.
Disrespect from douchebags aside, I wouldn’t say my jealousy was necessarily a thing of the past, but it took a lot more to get a rise out of me when it came to Sookie now.
Everyone knew we were together.
And – more importantly – I knew she loved me like no other.
She loved me enough to give up her family if it came down to it, to be with me.
And now knowing how awesome they all were, I could better appreciate the sacrifice she’d been willing to make.
Besides, in this instance, Jake knew how far he could go with Sookie before he reached that invisible line of too far.
I didn’t know exactly where her line was, but he was doing his best to creep up on mine.
Tray clapped me on the back with a smile, as I put my drink down and headed out onto the dance floor to save my wife from experiencing an entirely different kind of Body by Jake.
He would be experiencing something different too, when I made sure his body would be in traction for the foreseeable future.
Jake hadn’t seen me coming, so it had been easy to grab him by the back of his collar and fling him off to the side, while taking her hand with my free one and pulling her back into my arms.
He managed to stumble his way into a group of women all dancing together, so I could only smile when he looked back at us and grinned, giving us two thumbs up.
“He needs help,” Sookie snickered.
“I think he just found it,” I chuckled in return.
They were all eying him like a piece of meat.
But the only one I cared about wasn’t looking at him.
Instead she was pressing her hands against my chest, with her right one settled over my heart and her thumb automatically tracing over the scar that now sat to the right of it, as she smiled up at me and said, “Well hello, Mr. Northman.”
“Hello to you too, Mrs. Northman,” I smiled in return.
I liked the sound of it a lot more than I would’ve thought possible.
But then everything that had to do with Sookie made me feel things more than I would’ve thought possible.
It wasn’t fair, really.
Even while wearing her wedding dress and she still somehow managed to wear the pants in our relationship.
Her nose scrunched up right before she softly snickered, “I’m not used to it yet.”
“You will be,” I smiled and then reminded her, “According to your godfather, we’re going to be blessed with six sons. Their friends are going to have to call you something.”
The look on her face had been priceless when he’d said it, while we’d been making the rounds to all of the tables and greeting the guests after arriving at the reception.
Scared shitless pretty much covered it.
Her father and I hadn’t called her chicken shit for nothing.
And she didn’t find any humor in the fact I’d laughed along with him, when she glared back at him and ordered, “You take that back!”
We laughed even harder when she made the sign of the horn, holding her middle and ring fingers down with her thumb, with only her index and pinky fingers up, stabbing them into the air and making a “Ptu ptu,” sound, trying to ward off his curse.
Then she tossed an entire shaker of salt over her left shoulder for good measure.
“You think you’re funny,” she playfully glared. “We’ll see how funny you find it if that curse comes true and you end up a single parent when I lock myself up in a mental ward.”
“You’re going to be a great mom,” I smiled and leaned down to whisper into her ear, “And think of all the fun it’s going to be making you one.”
At the rate we went at it, she’d be lucky if they were spaced more than nine months apart.
“You seem to forget,” she whispered, more from the shiver that was working its way down her spine, than from trying to stay quiet.
The effect I had on her alone only reiterated the idea we would be purchasing a Chevy Suburban in the future.
Once she’d shaken off the chills I’d just given her, she pulled back enough to look up at me and teased, “I’ve seen the way you and Jason are when you get together. I share his DNA. We should consider adopting instead because history has proven the mixing of the two is going end up with someone getting impaled by rebar.”
“I survived it once,” I shrugged with a grin. “I can survive it six more times.”
Swatting at my chest with her hand, her entire demeanor changed and she glowered, “You’re not a damn cat. You don’t have nine lives.”
I forgot sometimes how shaken the entire ordeal had made her.
Probably because sometimes we could joke about what happened.
But sometimes we couldn’t.
I just hadn’t figured out what tipped the scales either way with it yet. Since it had happened to me, I dealt with it better and didn’t view it as that big of a deal.
Like Jake had said on that fateful day, scars were cool.
And I had an even cooler war story to tell at choir practice these days.
However, if it had happened to her, I would no doubt have killed myself in my attempt at locking her away somewhere to protect her from harm.
Sookie would have definitely killed me for even trying.
To paraphrase Patrick Swayze, “Nobody puts Sookie in a cage.”
But knowing the scales were tipping towards not funny right now, I leaned down and pressed my lips against her forehead to soothe her angry kitten, before trying to lighten her up by saying, “I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. Cats don’t really have nine lives.”
“I’m gonna let you in on a not so little secret,” she said after she’d taken a moment to calm down. “I don’t have six babies in me.”
“Not yet,” I grinned, seeing the sparkle return to her eyes. “But we can get started on them as soon as we get out of here.”
Trying to not smile – and failing at it – she twisted her lips and said, “You know what I mean. We are not having six babies. Sons or daughters or even a combination of the two.”
Having only sons would probably work out better for me in the long run.
Six of those, I was pretty sure I could handle.
Just as sure as I was that it would only take one daughter to be the death of me.
Staring back at a miniature version of Sookie and I would be toast.
Since karma and I had been getting along so well as of late, I didn’t know whether or not it would remain on my side.
Or turn around, bare its teeth, and then fuck me in the ass again.
“Well, not all at once,” I agreed with a knowing smirk. “I think that’s already been done by someone, but…their names escape me at the moment. In fact, I’m not even sure I ever knew what their names were at all.”
She smiled softly at the reminder of the conversation we’d had the first time we’d met, but her smile grew wider as she tilted her head and sighed indulgently, “Oh Eric…my big bullshitter.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I grinned, with my bald-faced lie, and then held her in a way that she could feel what I really wanted to distract her with, when I added, “Unless you’re referencing my more Homeric qualities.”
My ploy worked because her eyes glazed over and her grip on me tightened before she leaned closer and whispered, “How tacky would it be if we were caught fucking at our own wedding?”
“Not tacky at all,” I breathed out in a hoarse whisper. “In fact, I think it’s expected on some level.”
“As long as my family literally has their eyes wide shut,” she panted out. “I think I’m game for some debauchery, Mr. Northman.”
She might want her family to have their eyes wide shut, but mine were wide open, searching the room for a dark corner where I could christen my new wife by consummating our marriage.
We’d said our vows hours earlier.
We’d waited long enough.
And we continued tormenting each other until I was desperate enough to drag her off of the dance floor and into the nearest empty room I could find.
It just so happened to be a broom closet.
But neither one of us seemed to care about the lack of a romantic setting, with her hands diving for the zipper of my pants, while she laughed out, “You’re not the only one with Homeric qualities. I turn into Homer Simpson drooling over a donut whenever you’re around.”
Leaning down, I crashed my mouth into her own and gave her something to do besides laugh, but feeling her hand wrap around my shaft, I was forced to break our kiss when I panted out, “Fuck.”
Sookie had imposed a weeklong ban on fucking prior to the wedding.
And we’d only broken it a few times.
But it had been a few days since we’d last broken it, so I was more than ready to be with her again.
Too ready, even.
I was so ready, I could quite possibly finish before I ever made it inside of her.
So I forced myself to think of something other than how great it felt to have her touching me again and teased, “I don’t see any drool, Homer.”
Her tongue darted out to lick over her lips and I felt my balls tightening from the look in her eyes, just before she purred out, “Wrong lips, Mr. Northman.”
“Fuck…” I breathed out again.
A word we both repeated once my hands managed to make their way through the fabric forest she’d covered herself in and discovered just how wet she was.
I didn’t care that we had a mop at our disposal.
We weren’t going to need it if I had my way.
“What are you doing?” she asked, when I dropped down onto my knees.
And seeing as how I was on my knees and the skirt of her dress was bunched up in my hands, she had a pretty big clue what I was about to do, so she didn’t wait for a reply and said, “We still have a wedding cake to cut, so we don’t have time for dessert! This is a fuck and dash! Not a fuck-a-thon!”
Smirking up at her, I said, “To quote Whoever-the-Fuck of Wherever-the-Fuck, let them eat cake. I’ve got something better to eat.”
“Eric!” she hissed, when I dove underneath the white tulle forest.
But she hissed out my name for an entirely different reason, as soon as my mouth made contact with her lower set of lips.
I knew she was right, though. There were over two hundred people less than twenty feet away, all waiting for us to shove cake into each other’s faces, so I didn’t try to tease her orgasm out of her.
I went after it like it owed me money.
Holding her hip with one hand, I used two fingers from the other to thrust inside of her, while my lips sealed over her clit.
With the tongue lashing it got, one would think it did owe me money, but it didn’t take long before she was tumbling over the edge of bliss once my fingertips found her inner easy button.
She was so blissed, I was lucky to have gotten those two fingers back.
But since this was a sprint, I didn’t waste any time and hoisted her up against the wall before I was even fully upright. The skirt of her dress had risen up with me, so all it took was another second for me center myself and slam into her.
“Jesus,” she panted out, with a wild look in her eyes and arched her back to give us a better angle, chanting, “Right there…right there…fuck! Don’t stop.”
“You sure are bossy now that we’re married,” I teased, but agreed with her wholeheartedly.
The whole building could burn down around us and I wouldn’t care enough to stop.
She felt that good.
“Fuck!” she whisper shrieked before trying to quiet herself by pulling my head down to hers. But instead of kissing me, she only managed to moan against my lips, “Married sex is so much better than engaged sex.”
I would have agreed with her if I could.
But I couldn’t.
Because I needed all of my concentration to focus on not finishing the race without her.
She felt that good.
Since I’d barely given her enough time to even begin to come down from her first orgasm, she was already primed for another one. So all it took was a few more thrusts before she crossed the finish line and took me with her.
“Fuck…” I choked out in a hoarse whisper against her lips, with my entire body tingling.
It took a few more minutes before we both managed to catch our breath and I slowly set her down on her feet, holding her upright until I knew she could stand on her own, while she giggled, “Well, I guess we can cross broom closet off of our fuck-it list.”
Grabbing a few paper towels from a stack on the shelf, I used them to clean us both up and smiled as I said, “At least it’s fully stocked for our specific needs.”
“If that were the case, it would be soundproofed,” she giggled. “Do you think anyone heard us?”
Sookie was always giggly when she was cum drunk.
It was pretty adorable, if I do say so myself.
“Who cares?” I smiled. “We’re married now.”
As soon as we were back to looking as presentable as possible, she wrapped her arms around me and leaned forward. Pressing her chin against my chest, she stared up at me through her lashes, with nothing but adoration in her eyes and a soft smile on her lips, as she simply repeated, “We’re married now.”
I don’t know how she did it.
But she always did it.
Any look and every word.
There was no rhyme or reason for it – no discernible pattern for me to point at and say ‘that right there’ was the cause – and yet she always somehow managed to make me love her even more.
Tray had been right to ask.
I don’t know how in the hell I’d hidden it for so long.
I just thanked god I no longer had to.
So even though I had no reason to hide it anymore, while I still had her all to myself – in a broom closet bubble for two – and before I was forced to share her with everyone else, I took a moment to just enjoy being with her.
And I had absolutely no reason to stop myself from leaning down and kissing her like my life depended on it.
Because at that moment in time?
I would have sworn that it did.