I was surprised by the sense of relief I felt when I admitted to Eric that I planned on divorcing Bill. I guess it took me saying the words out loud to someone else for it to seem real, and not just an abstract concept. And, I’m pretty sure the sight of him wearing nothing but his jeans was distracting me from feeling much besides lust anyway. I knew I’d be drooling if I looked at him outright, so instead I looked at his reflection in the water. I had no idea if there were any fish around because I could only see him. If I thought I could get away with it, I’d hide his shirt along with every other piece of clothing we’d found today just so he wouldn’t cover up the masterpiece that is his body. I felt like I was going to need to dive under the water soon just to cool off, and the heat I was feeling had nothing to do with the sun.
I chanced a glance in Eric’s direction and saw he was looking down in the water with a slight smile on his face. I was very curious wondering what thoughts would make him smile like that when it hit me. He MUST have a girlfriend. He’s too good looking to NOT be attached to someone. And I felt jealous even though I had no right to feel that way. Why would he want me? I had more baggage than Samsonite.
Since it seemed we were sharing personal information now I figured it was as good a time as any to find out. Never taking my eyes off of the water I asked, “So, how about you? Do you have someone special in your life?” I figured that was a broad enough term that would include someone he was sleeping with even if they weren’t exclusive. I caught myself holding my breath waiting for his answer.
“That depends on who you ask!” he barked out. He sounded like a scorned lover taking on the contemptuous tone we used with each other before the crash and my lusty feelings for him were crushed instantly. All I could do was mumble, “Sorry” and I immediately focused on the fish swimming around us and not Eric Northman. A larger fish caught my eye and thankfully swam behind me so I had to turn away from him to follow the fish which had darted into some undergrowth surrounding a group of coral rock at the water’s edge. As soon as Eric was no longer in my line of sight my whole body tensed as I replayed the last few minutes in my mind. Before I got too far in my thoughts I felt his hand on my shoulder and heard, “I’m sorry” from behind.
I felt my body automatically relax and lean into his touch. All I could do was nod while I kept looking down into the water not wanting to see whatever expression might be on his face. I heard him moving through the water and he came to stand right in front of me with his hand never leaving my shoulder.
The silence got to be too much for me and when I finally looked up at him he looked remorseful as he said, “Really, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you.” I didn’t like seeing the sadness on his face and fought the urge to reach out and smooth away the lines in between his furrowed eyebrows. “Do you want to talk about it?” I asked.
His grip on my shoulder tightened and he sighed as he released me saying, “My father summoned me to his office the morning of our flight to tell me, no, to order me to marry Sophie-Ann LeClerq.” “Do you love her?” I blurted out before my brain/mouth filter could kick in. “Not hardly” he replied. “We’re acquaintances at best. She’s a lesbian for christsake.”
I know my eyes got impossibly large before I burst into laughter. The hurt expression on his face sobered me up quickly and I explained, “I’m sorry. I only laughed because I think your father and my mother would be well-suited for one another. She’s the reason why I married Bill.” His face softened considerably at my admission.
He went on to explain the reasons why his father wanted him to marry Sophie-Ann along with how they could make him a grandfather without ever having had sex together which only served to remind me of my own fertility issues. I genuinely felt sorry for him and myself. We had more in common than I ever would’ve guessed. I tried hard to tamp down my curiosity on what he was going to do about it so instead I offered my own two cents. “I hope for your own sake you think long and hard before agreeing to this arrangement. I know firsthand how miserable someone can be just giving in to everyone else’s wants and needs. I wish I’d been stronger to stand up to them then, but all I can do now is choose my own path.”
He looked at me with a smirk on his lips and defiance in his eyes. “I have no intention of going along with my father’s little scheme. We argued about it right before I got to the airport. That’s why I was late by the way, not because it was my daddy’s plane.”
My head ducked in shame and I squeaked out, “I’m sorry.” I looked up again to see him looking amused before he said, “So THAT’s why I was in such a foul mood that morning. What’s your excuse?” I was surprised my reaction was instant, from the gasp that left my lips to the tears that formed in my eyes. He looked horrified to see me reacting that way and immediately put both of his hands on my shoulders saying, “I’m sorry. I was just kidding.”
My breath hitched in my throat as I fought back the urge to cry. I didn’t realize how much my diagnosis had affected me, but I really hadn’t had much time to dwell on it since I’d gotten the news. I forced a smile onto my lips saying, “It’s okay. I’m okay. I’d just gotten some bad news that morning and I hadn’t really thought about it too much with everything that’s happened since then and it kind of caught me off guard.” He started rubbing his hands up and down my arms while looking into my eyes and I swear I could get lost in them. Yes, his eyes were a nice distraction until he opened his mouth and asked, “Do you want to talk about it?”
Did I? “Honestly? I think I need some more time to process it all. I really don’t feel like thinking about it right now, but when I do you’ll be the first to know?” I ended with a small smile. He looked like he wanted to push the issue, but thankfully he didn’t. He didn’t remove his hands from my shoulders either, nor did I want him to. Well maybe I DID want him to remove them from my shoulders but only so he could put them on other, more erogenous, parts of my body. Our eyes stayed locked, neither one of us moving, and I would’ve given anything at that moment to have been able to read his mind. I longed to run my hands over his bare chest and that perfectly shaped ass of his. I thoroughly enjoyed the view each and every time he’s had to bend over to pick up something since we’ve been here. Then something latched onto my little toe and I jumped in the air screaming like a lunatic.
“What’s wrong?” Eric looked frantic as I jumped around cursing like a sailor so I tried to lift my right leg up to show him the crab from hell that was attached to my little toe yelling, “Get it off!” He looked relieved and started laughing while he tried to catch my foot which was bouncing up and down while I tried to keep my balance. He grabbed on my calf and held it up against the side of his body, his bare body, as he turned around to face my foot and even with the pain radiating from my toe I STILL enjoyed the view of his ass right next to me. In fact, I had to put my hand right at the top of it to keep my balance. Yep … HAD to.
I was drooling a little looking at his broad golden back when he finally dislodged the killer crab from my toe and gently lowered my foot back down into the water. I almost told him to reattach it just so I could keep touching him, but I bit my tongue instead. I had been too busy watching the way his muscles moved under his skin to notice the crab in his hand until he shook it in front of me.
“Holy shit what is THAT?” It looked like a giant monster crab. Its shell was over a foot long with mutant sized claws. I was thankful that it didn’t cut my toe off because I was pretty sure it could have given its size.
Eric had a huge grin on his face when he answered, “It’s dinner!” We walked back up the beach, well he walked and I hobbled, where he sifted through some of the things we’d found on the beach that morning. He found some rounded metal that he pounded into a bowl shape about the size of a large mixing bowl while I held onto Crabzilla. After starting another fire Eric ran to the waterfall and came back with the bowl full of fresh water and set it on our ‘stove’. As soon as it was boiling we said goodbye to Crabzilla and put him in the water. While he cooked Eric took another look at my toe.
“It’s a good thing he didn’t clamp all the way down on your toe or else it’d be gone right now,” he said as his fingers ghosted over the bruise left behind. I smiled answering, “But now I’m not only the Fishing Queen, I’m also the Crabzilla Queen.” He laughed replying, “Yes, you are. But technically you’re the Coconut Crab Queen.”
I felt my eyebrow quirk up in disbelief saying, “Don’t tell me…bar trivia?” He just shrugged his shoulders saying, “I don’t remember, but I DO remember that they’re considered a delicacy. It didn’t even occur to me that there might be some on the island and they usually only come out at night so it would explain why we haven’t seen any until now. You know, in some places they’re considered an aphrodisiac.” His voice dropped an octave when he said that last word and I felt the effect in my girly bits. Christ his voice alone was an aphrodisiac. I had to sit on my hands to resist fanning myself in front of him.
The only lame thing I could think of saying was, “Too bad we don’t have any butter.” It was the wrong thing to say because then all I could picture was what Eric would look like all oiled up and my knee started bouncing in order for my body to work off some of the tension I was feeling. Sexual tension.
I would swear he was leering at me when he said, “Oh, I think we’ll enjoy it anyway.” Gulp.
My inner sex kitten, that I had NO idea existed, was thinking up all sorts of sexy retorts to purr out to him but my Christian upbringing wouldn’t let me say them. At least not yet. It also hadn’t escaped my attention that he still had my leg draped across his lap from when he was inspecting my toe and he’d been stroking it absentmindedly while we’d been talking. I caught myself staring at his chest and all I wanted to do was to lean forward and pull one of his nipples in between my teeth.
I don’t know how long we sat like that but I must’ve been unconsciously leaning towards him because his chest had gotten closer and when I finally looked up Eric’s face was only inches from mine. He looked hungry, but I didn’t think it was for Crabzilla. I felt his hand travel farther up my leg but the look on his face told me that I would have to be the one to close the distance between us.
I didn’t hesitate at all. I leaned forward lacing my fingers into his hair pulling him towards me and as soon as our lips touched I could feel an electrical charge run through my body. I traced his lips with my tongue until he parted them allowing me to explore the inside of his mouth as well. He tasted sweet and his lips were soft with his whiskers tickling my face. It was tender and sweet and I never wanted it to end but we eventually pulled away from each other to breathe.
Eric leaned his forehead against mine confessing, “I’ve been wanting to do that since the first time I laid eyes on you.” I had to laugh because our encounters up until we ended up here were anything but romantic. When I said as much to him he laughed along with me.
We managed to separate ourselves and Eric pulled Crabzilla from the boiling water. Once it was cooled off enough he broke open the shell and we both stuffed ourselves on the meat inside. It was delicious! I noticed Eric paying extra attention whenever I would lick my fingers clean and I may have done so with a little extra gusto because of it. It was nice feeling wanted by someone, much less someone as smart and sexy as Eric Northman.
Eric told me more about his childhood and as did I. He shared funny stories of the people he’d met over the years, celebrities in particular so I’d know who he was talking about, but he not in a way like he was name dropping. More like “they’re so stupid” stories. I couldn’t remember the last time I had laughed as much as I did that night.
When it was time to go to sleep the awkwardness was back in spades until he put me at ease saying, “I’m not going to do anything Sookie. I really do like you and I’m not going to jeopardize that by trying to move too fast too soon.” My heart melted a little bit more towards him and I crawled up curling my body into his and the only thing we did differently was the chaste kiss on the lips we gave each other before settling in. I fell asleep to him telling me a fairytale he made up just for me.