I found myself plagued by thoughts of Sookie Stackhouse, or Compton?, all weekend long. Even while asleep, she invaded my dreams with each one more erotic than the last. I had been with more women than I can even recall, but none of them had ever intrigued me like her and I couldn’t figure out why.
Was it because she didn’t come on to me like almost every other woman I had encountered since I was a teenager? No, I’d come across a few lipstick lesbians that I couldn’t convince to let me join in on the fun.
Or was it because she was married and therefore forbidden fruit? Again, no since I had been a party to more than one affair.
While she was very beautiful I’ve had plenty of starlets and models over the years, so it couldn’t be just for her looks.
It continued to eat away at me and by Monday morning I had decided to try to get to know her better so I could somehow figure out what it was that enabled her to crawl under my skin.
That morning I was packing the last of my things when father’s secretary called saying he wanted to see me before I left for the airport. The office was only 10 minutes from there so I arrived at 11:15 to give myself enough time to make it to the plane by noon. I hated being kept waiting so I always made sure I was on time, if not early, whenever I had to be somewhere. Apparently my father had no problem keeping others waiting because he was in his office behind closed doors when I arrived. His secretary said he was on an important call so I was left to wait it out.
When 30 minutes had passed I stood up to tell her I was leaving for my flight and that I would speak to my father later when his door finally opened. He motioned for me to enter and had me take a seat.
“I’ve been in negotiations with the LeClerq Corporation and we agreed that a partnership would be very beneficial for everyone concerned.” The LeClerq company was very similar to Northman Inc. and combining forces would be the equivalent of Microsoft combining with Apple, simply unheard of. What he said next completely floored me. “In order for LeClerq and I to have faith that each party will be completely forthcoming with the other it has been decided that you will be marrying his daughter Sophie-Ann.”
I sat there with my mouth gaping open while trying to process his words before I could finally speak. “You can’t be serious!”
“I assure you I’m quite serious,” he countered. “You’ve known Sophie-Ann for years, what’s the problem?”
Steam had to be billowing out of my ears by that point. “My problem? I’m not going to marry Sophie-Ann LeClerq! We’ve run into each other over the years at parties or clubs, but I’m certainly not in love with her. We’ve never even dated. She’s a lesbian!”
He wasn’t bothered in the least. “Yes, her father mentioned something about that. Well, even if the two of you don’t share a bed you can still share a last name. When the time comes for children there are other ways of getting the job done. Love has nothing to do with it. You can each still have your dalliances so long as they aren’t public knowledge. We have an image to uphold.”
I would’ve sworn I was in a nightmare were it not for the fact that Sookie was nowhere in sight so I couldn’t possibly be dreaming. “No!”
“Yes.” He was still completely calm. “You’ll have some time to get used to the idea. The two of you will be going out on several high profile dates once you return so we can leak your location to the paparazzi. After a couple of months we’ll announce your engagement followed by the wedding of the year.” His eyes took on a more stern edge when he said, “End of discussion.”
“No, it’s not, but I’m already late for my flight so I’m leaving.” Giving him my own stern look I said, “I wouldn’t go making any announcements if I were you because THIS isn’t happening.” I stormed out without saying another word and seeing that it was almost 12:30 I floored it all the way to the airport.
I was still in a foul mood as I stomped up the stairs into the plane. I was lost in thought about the audacity my father had to think I would go along with his little fantasy when I heard, “Nice of you to FINALLY show up! I guess you feel like you don’t have to be on time since it’s daddy’s plane.”
Sookie quickly became the focus of my anger as I fixed my stare on her. Before I could tear into her some bottle blond flight attendant was in my face and taking my bag. I didn’t hear anything she said and just shook my head wanting to be left alone and went to the back of the plane.
I sat in my seat silently fuming for a while until bottle blond knelt down in front of me making sure her surgically enhanced cleavage was on display. I, personally, didn’t care for anything fake. Fake tits, fake hair color, fake interest in me. When I finally looked at her she purred, “Are you sure there isn’t anything I can do for you Mr. Northman? Your father is always quite pleased with my hospitality,” she ended with a giggle.
Was she fucking serious? I arranged my facial features into pure disdain, which wasn’t difficult at all, and leaned back as if I might catch whatever disease she might be carrying and said, “The likes of you does nothing for me. My father obviously has MUCH lower standards than I do, now leave me the fuck alone.”
I didn’t care when she abruptly stood up and ran to the galley looking like she was about to cry. All I cared about was that she left me the hell alone. A little while later I saw her bring Sookie a snack and some water before she retreated to the back again completely ignoring me.
After refueling at LAX I was finally able to drift off to sleep where Sookie invaded my dreams once more. I had been standing next to Sophie-Ann somewhere with camera flashes blinding me over and over. I managed to look into the crowd around us and saw Sookie standing there watching us with tears streaming down her face. I wanted to run to her and wrap her up in my arms but my body wouldn’t move. It didn’t matter how hard I tried, it was like I was physically glued to that spot. I saw Sookie break into sobs and she turned and ran into the crowd. I woke up with a start yelling, “NO!”
It took me a minute to realize where I was, but I could still feel the turmoil inside me from the dream. I had to check on her. I stood up and walked towards her seat and found her asleep with a book in her lap. I marked the page she had left it open to and placed it on the seat next to her and went back to get a drink. When bottle blond saw me coming towards her she quickly averted her eyes and practically ran to the front of the plane to get away from me. I turned to make sure she wasn’t going to disturb Sookie and watched her go into the cockpit closing the door behind her.
I found myself a bottle of water and drained it dry before going into the bathroom. I was standing at the sink splashing water on my face when the plane unexpectedly bounced causing me to lose my footing. I fell hitting my head on the edge of the sink on my way down. I didn’t blackout but I was dazed enough that I continued to lie there until I felt the plane starting to nosedive. I heard the pilot on the overhead speakers telling us to prepare for a crash landing and I dragged myself out of the bathroom. I had just made it into a seat and buckled up when he said, “BRACE YOURSELVES!”
The plane hit the water with a deafening roar. I could feel it as we cart wheeled nose over tail ending upside down as the water came rushing in through the cockpit door that had blown open. Every muscle in my body was screaming but the adrenaline took over as I unlatched the seatbelt and fell to the ceiling of the plane. I made my way forward and found Sookie strapped in her seat unconscious with a gash above her right eye. I was tall enough that I could easily reach her seatbelt and caught her body as she fell into my arms. The water had reached my waist at that point so I held onto her as I opened the compartment that housed the life vests, emergency survival kit, and inflatable raft. I quickly secured a vest onto Sookie and then myself, grabbing 3 more for the two pilots and flight attendant along with the kit and raft and pushed it all into the cockpit in front of me.
The water was already reaching my chin but the vest helped keep Sookie in the air pocket that hadn’t been filled with water yet. I held my breath and submerged into the water to help the others from their seats but it became immediately clear that they hadn’t survived. The windshield must have shattered on impact because they were left with large cuts on their faces and the front of their bodies with pieces of glass and metal protruding from them.
I looped my arm through the strap of the kit and grabbed onto Sookie and pushed us through the opening in the windshield along with the raft. I wrapped one arm and both of my legs around her and looped the tether of the raft around my other arm. I pulled the stopper to inflate the raft and as it filled with air it pulled us towards the surface of the water.
Once we broke through the surface I pulled myself into the raft dropping the kit onto the floor and then pulled Sookie’s unconscious body along side of me. It was then that I noticed she had stopped breathing. I started doing CPR and yelling for her to wake up in between breathing into her mouth.
It was on my third set of blowing air into her lungs that her eyes opened and she started coughing up water. I’d never felt so relieved in my life. I helped her turn over as she coughed the water from her lungs.
When she was done she looked over at me and asked, “What happened?”
She looked so lost and fragile that I couldn’t resist pulling her into my arms. I was surprised and relieved when she didn’t push me away. “I don’t know. I heard the pilot yelling for us to brace ourselves and then we hit the water. The plane ended up upside down and the windshield broke open on impact. I got us out of there.”
She turned her head to look up at me and whispered, “What happened to the others?” I pulled her head back into my chest saying, “They didn’t make it.” I stroked her wet hair as she cried into my chest and found that the feeling of her in my arms felt very right. Like she belonged there. Before I could contemplate that any further I noticed land in the distance. It was difficult to tell how far away it was over the water, but I pointed it out to Sookie as I released her from my embrace. The feeling of emptiness that engulfed me when I let her go shocked me.
I quickly shook it off and grabbed one of the paddles tethered to the raft and started rowing towards the shore. I didn’t try to go too fast so I could pace myself in case it was farther out than I thought. Sookie tried to grab the other paddle to help, but I told her she needed to take it easy because of the big bump on the front of her head. At first she looked like she wanted to argue, but when she moved to get the paddle her whole body swayed. My eyebrow lifted into an ‘I told you so’ expression and she glared back as she stuck her tongue out at me causing me to laugh for the first time in days.
The land in front of us slowly got bigger as we got closer to it but I continued to pace myself. I kept looking over at her and was awestruck by her beauty. Even with a huge knot on her head and her hair and clothes in a mess from our ordeal, she was still the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.
I caught her looking back at me a few times too, but neither one of us said anything for a while. The silence wasn’t an uncomfortable one but I finally broke it asking, “Do you have any idea how much time had passed after we left LAX before the crash?” I was trying to figure out in my head where we possibly were based on how long we had been flying.
“No,” she answered. “I fell asleep not long after we took off. The turbulence woke me up but when I looked around no one was in the cabin.” Her body visibly tensed when she asked, “Where were you?”
“In the bathroom. I had just made it back to my seat when we hit the water. Everyone else was in the cockpit.” When her body relaxed I wondered why she would tense up wondering where I was, but just attributed it to the trauma of the crash. She must’ve felt all alone.
The sun had just set by the time we reached the shore. Sookie was still a little shaky which concerned me so I held onto her waist as we walked through the water onto the beach. After setting her down in the sand I went back and pulled the raft up behind the tide lines so it would get pulled back out into the ocean.
The saltwater had helped the gash above her eye stop bleeding, but I opened the kit and took out the first-aid pack anyway. I gently went over her cut with an alcohol swab and dabbed some Neosporin on it so it wouldn’t get infected before but she balked at me putting any band-aids over it saying she was fine.
Wherever we were was definitely some place tropical. Since the moon was full I grabbed a flashlight from the kit but kept it off to save the batteries as we set off to try to find another living soul where we were. After we walked for at least an hour without any sign of civilization we turned back. Neither one of us had said much. We were both probably still in a little shock from the crash.
When we got back to the raft I pulled it up into the tree line and got us each a protein bar from the kit that we devoured within seconds. We made plans to walk in the opposite direction the next morning and climbed into the raft to get some sleep. It was then that the awkwardness crept in with us.
I lay down on one end propping my head up on the side with my feet dangling over the opposite edge and she curled into a ball on the other end. I wanted nothing more than to wrap my body around hers but I didn’t think she would feel that was appropriate.
When the sun had set there was a noticeable drop in temperature, but now that we were no longer up and moving around it was much cooler than earlier. I could see her shivering as she pulled her legs up into her body and wrapped her arms around them trying to contain her body heat. When her teeth started chattering I couldn’t watch her suffering anymore.
I moved closer to the center of the raft and held my arm up while saying, “Come here.” She gave me a wary look so I followed it up with, “We’re both cold. If we sleep next to each other it’ll help keep us warm.” That was partially a lie because I wasn’t cold at all, but I didn’t think telling her that would get her into my arms. I watched her facial expressions as she debated back and forth in her mind before she finally scooted into my arms. I wrapped one arm around her from underneath as she snuggled into me placing her head on my chest and wrapping both of her arms around me. I turned my body towards her and she moved one of her legs in between both of mine and nothing had ever felt more right than at that very moment.
She quietly whispered into my chest, “Thank you for saving me Eric.” I didn’t know what to say so I just did what felt right and kissed the top of her head. I heard her sigh and she held me a little tighter and we both drifted off to sleep.