I felt like I’d been punched in the gut when Eric told me, in so many words, that he never wanted a relationship. That no one woman ever meant anything to him. What was I? I thought we had something special between us. I fell in love with him and only now he decides to tell me I meant nothing to him? Just a fuck?
I could barely stand it when he wiped my tears away, waiting until I looked him in the eye to tell me I meant nothing to him. I sent a silent thank you to God when the noise outside gave me a reprieve from having my heart ripped out and took off out the door not wanting or needing to hear anything more from Eric Northman.
The noise got louder when a bright light appeared, shining down from the sky that eventually settled on us standing on the beach. It was a helicopter. We were rescued. I could feel Eric’s eyes on me but I refused to look at him and just stared up in the sky as the helicopter got closer until it finally settled on a larger piece of land a little ways down from where we were. I watched as the doors opened and two people got out and started jogging our way.
Eric reached out and grabbed my arm, turning my body until I faced him, but when I saw that he seemed determined to finish breaking my heart I decided to put myself out of misery. I got it. ‘We’ were through, but I certainly did need him to reiterating that fact. I jerked my arm away and started running towards the strangers with tears running down my cheeks. I just had to get away. Away from this island, my one time Heaven had turned into Hell and away from Eric, my one true love that turned into my biggest mistake of all.
I reached the two strangers first and they asked, “Mrs. Compton?” I couldn’t stop the sobs that overtook my body and began shaking uncontrollably as I wept. I felt Eric start to wrap his arms around me, but that only made the sobs worse so I jerked away from him. I didn’t want to find comfort in his arms because it was the loss of him, of us, that had me breaking down. I would stay here forever with him if only he loved me, but he didn’t and feeling that truth come crashing down on me I couldn’t bear to stay on this island for one more minute.
The other man looked behind me and said, “Mr. Northman, we’re so glad we found you. We’ve been looking for you for months.” He paused as he looked back and forth between Eric and I, feeling the obvious tension between us, before continuing, “We spotted the fire on the beach and got here as quickly as we could. Is there anyone else here with you?”
“No,” Eric replied, “we were the only survivors.” Hearing his voice behind me made me cry even harder until I didn’t think I’d be able to stay on my feet for very much longer. My stomach was in knots and it took all of the willpower I had not to throw up at their feet. I looked at the man in front of me and choked out, “Can we leave now? I have to get out of here. I want to go home.”
He reached out and placed a hand on my shoulder saying, “Of course Mrs. Compton.” He paused for a moment before asking, “Is there anything you’d like to bring back with you before we leave?” I shook my head while I said, “No. There’s nothing here on this island that I want. It’s all been one huge nightmare and I’d like nothing more than to forget it ever happened.”
I thought I heard Eric gasp behind me, but I didn’t bother to turn around and instead started walking towards the helicopter. One of the rescuers helped me inside and sat me down in the back while taking the other seat next to me. As soon as Eric climbed into one of the seats in the front I curled myself up into a ball and stared out the window watching as we took flight.
I could feel my heart tearing in two as we climbed higher and higher into the night sky and I silently said goodbye to the island. I just wished I could leave the memories there too.
We were in the air for what felt like forever when we finally landed on a huge cargo ship. The people on the boat surrounded us as soon as we stepped out of the helicopter with everyone talking non-stop and I felt lightheaded along with exhaustion quickly taking over my body. A woman stepped closer to me and said, “Mrs. Compton, my name is Claudine and I’m an RN. You’re not looking so well. Do you feel alright?” I just nodded my head that I was fine. There was nothing she could do to heal my broken heart so it didn’t really matter. She stared at me for a moment trying to gauge my reaction, but her eyes softened and said, “If you’ll follow me, I’ll set you up in a cabin down below. Would you like something to eat? Or, if you’re feeling up to it you can phone home and speak to your family.”
I felt numb and doubted I’d be able to carry on a conversation right now so I just said, “I’d like to get some sleep right now. I’ll call them later.” I didn’t look to see where Eric was. I knew I’d break down again if I saw him so I kept my eyes on my feet as I shuffled off behind Claudine. She led me to a room one flight down that had a private bathroom and left some clothing for me to change into. She left after telling me that she would be in the room next door to mine if I needed anything else.
I stripped off my clothes and climbed into the shower, breaking down again as I stood under the hot water raining down on me. How could I have been so stupid to think Eric loved me too? Before tonight I would’ve bet anything and everything that he did, but I would’ve lost. I did lose. He’d been kind and sweet the entire time we were there, but that didn’t change the fact that everything else was just because he had no other options. I was the only one there for him to spend time with, to have sex with. No, I told myself, I was the only one there for him to fuck.
When my skin was pruned I finally climbed out of the shower and dried off before putting on a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt and climbed into the bed. I wasn’t used to how soft the mattress was and couldn’t get comfortable. I must have tossed and turned for hours, replaying in my mind the final moments before the helicopter arrived, before I thankfully drifted off to sleep.
When I woke up the next morning I was disoriented. I reached out for Eric’s body, but the feel of the sheets and the mattress brought back everything from the night before. My pillowcase was wet from the tears I must have shed while I was asleep and I had to force myself to swallow down another round of sobs that were threatening to leave my throat. I walked into the bathroom and saw my reflection for the first time in months.
My face was a golden brown and my hair was much lighter than it had been. I would’ve looked like I’d just returned from a fabulous tropical vacation if it weren’t for the fact that my eyes were puffy and red from all of the crying I’d been doing.
I washed my face and brushed my teeth, thankful for the bag of toiletries Claudine had left for me the night before. I was in the middle of putting my hair up into a ponytail when the wave of nausea hit me without warning. I barely made it to the toilet before I lost what was left of my dinner from the night before.
When it finally stopped I stood and brushed my teeth again when I heard someone softly knocking on my door. My heart fluttered for a moment thinking it might be Eric, but then it quickly turned into dread with me hoping it wasn’t. I went to the door and hesitantly opened it with relief and disappointment simultaneously flooding my body seeing it was Claudine.
“Are you okay?” she asked with concern. “We share a bathroom wall and I heard you getting sick.” I watched her eyes taking in my own swollen ones and just said, “I’m fine.”
It was probably just nerves leftover from the night before. Bill and I had taken a cruise on our honeymoon and I didn’t have any seasickness then so I didn’t think it was that.
Claudine looked at me for another brief moment before asking, “Do you feel up to eating anything?” When I shook my head no, she followed up with, “Well then, would you like to phone home now? We notified both your family and Mr. Northman’s last night once we had you on the ship. The helicopter is going to take you to Guam in a couple of hours where a private jet will be waiting for you to bring you back to Louisiana.”
I still felt numb at the thought of going back home. I didn’t want to talk to Bill right now, so I decided I would call my parents instead. Claudine led me to the Captain’s office and I sat down in one of the chairs facing his desk while she dialed the number I gave her. I put the phone to my ear and started crying again when his voice came on the line, “Hello?”
“Daddy? It’s me, Sookie.” I couldn’t say anything else through the sobs that were racking through my body. I hadn’t realized how much I’d missed him while we’d been gone. Claudine rubbed her hand on my back for a minute before leaving the room to let me have some privacy.
“Baby girl!” he cried. “I’m so happy to hear your voice. How are you doodlebug?”
“Oh Daddy,” I continued to cry, “I’ve missed you so much. I’m okay. I just want to come home.”
“Well they’re saying that you’ll be back in Shreveport by tonight. Would you like for your mother and me to meet you at the airport with Bill?”
“Of course I want you there Daddy. Is everything okay back home? Did I miss anything good?”
I hoped he would distract me with six months worth of stories and gossip, but he seemed tense when he replied, “There’ve been some changes, but I think it would be best if we told you in person. It’s nothing for you to worry about though. I’m just counting my blessings that my baby girl was found safe and sound.”
I wanted to ask what it was he was keeping from me, but I didn’t think I could handle any more bad news right now. I wondered why I couldn’t hear my mother in the background demanding the phone from him so I asked, “Where’s momma?”
I heard him let out a loud sigh before answering, “She’s not home right now. Her and Bill are at his campaign headquarters being interviewed by all of the network morning news shows.”
Campaign headquarters? “What campaign headquarters? I haven’t been gone that long and the mayoral election is still a year and a half away.”
“That’s one of those changes I thought would be best if we discussed it in person. The short answer is that Bill is no longer interested in running for mayor and is running for a seat in the House of Representatives for Louisiana.” He cutoff my next question with, “Now I know you probably have a million questions, and rightfully so, but I really do think it would be best for you to wait until you’re home. You’ve had enough stress to last a lifetime and I don’t want to add to less than a day after you’ve been rescued.”
I heard someone come to stand in the doorway behind me and figured Claudine had come back so I ended the call with, “Okay, if you think its best. I can’t wait to see you tonight.”
“Me too baby girl. Me too. Now you have a safe trip back and I’ll see you when you land, okay? I love you.”
“I love you too. I’ll see you tonight.” I hung up the phone and stood to face Claudine, only it wasn’t Claudine. It was Eric. He had shaved off the beard that had grown in our time on the island and looked better than ever. His hair was still long though, and the thoughts of when I used to run my fingers through it almost brought me to my knees. We continued to stand there, just staring at each other while I swallowed the urge to breakdown again. I didn’t want to cry over Eric Northman. He didn’t deserve my tears.
I couldn’t help noticing the bags underneath his eyes. He looked like he’d had a rough night, and the hateful part inside of me was glad. Then I had to wonder if he hooked up with someone new now that he wasn’t stuck with just plain old ‘nothing’ me, but deep down I didn’t think that would be true. I thought he looked sad, but then again, I thought he loved me. I obviously didn’t know him as well as I thought I did.
He finally opened his mouth and said, “I was going to use the phone.”
That’s it? That’s ALL he has to say to me? I started walking towards the doorway, but he didn’t move to let me get by. I stood staring at his chest and said, “Well, it’s free now. ” It took another minute or two, but he finally moved out of my way and as soon as I turned the corner and knew he could no longer see me, the tears returned with a vengeance.
As soon as I made it back to my room I locked the door and threw myself down on the bed crying nonstop, until I made myself sick again. I hadn’t eaten anything so it was nothing more than dry heaves and thankfully they passed fairly quickly.
I cleaned myself up and Claudine showed up a little while later carrying a sandwich, some fruit and a bottle of water. Even though I’d been getting sick I suddenly felt ravenous and wolfed everything down while she sat and watched me eat. I was dreading being stuck with Eric in the airplane all the way back home, but there wasn’t any other way around it if I wanted to get home as quickly as possible.
I guessed the dread was showing on my face because Claudine asked, “Are you okay?”
I offered a half truth and replied, “I’m just dreading getting on the airplane.” Let her believe I was afraid of crashing again, even though a part of me was praying for it. I really didn’t feel like I had much left to live for at this point, not that I would ever do something to purposely try and end my life. But if God saw fit to take me out of my misery, who was I to argue with Him?
Claudine looked at me sympathetically and asked, “Would you like for me to go with you?” I was so grateful I could kiss her, but I just smiled softly and whispered, “That would be great,” before I was lost in another wave of grief. The tears slid down my cheeks while I tried to keep my breathing under control, but I lost it completely when she wrapped her arms around me. I cried on her shoulder while she rubbed my back and all I could think of was how much I wished she was Eric instead.
I eventually calmed down and I was thankful that Claudine didn’t ask me any questions about why I was so upset. I guessed she just assumed that it had to do with being stranded for so long on the island so I just remained silent. She went to her room and came back with a summer dress for me to wear. She was taller than me, so it would’ve ended just above her knees but on me it came down to mid-calf. Our feet were the same size so she gave me a pair of sandals to wear before we headed back onto the deck to get in the helicopter.
Claudine and I climbed into the back while Eric sat in the front again with the pilot. I avoided looking at him at all costs and didn’t even bother to put on the earphones everyone else wore so they could communicate over the noise of the rotating blades.
We were in the air for about an hour before landing at an airport somewhere in Guam where we were immediately loaded into Northman Inc.’s new private jet. It was even bigger than the last one and even came with a new blond bimbo. I wasn’t prepared for the wave of jealousy that rolled through me when I saw her smiling at Eric, clearly trying to get his attention, so I turned away from the two of them and stared out the window until we finally took off.
I didn’t realize I’d fallen asleep until I woke up with my neck hurting from the odd angle I’d assumed with my head leaning on the window. I stretched out and glanced to my side to see Claudine had fallen asleep too, when I realized my bladder was suddenly screaming at me. I quickly stood up, mentally preparing myself at the possibility of having to see Eric and moved into the aisle.
What I should’ve prepared myself for was what I would feel when I saw Eric. He was asleep and every memory I had of what we shared on the island came rushing back. I loved him so much and I thought he did too. It couldn’t ALL have been a lie, could it? He must have felt something for me to act the way he did. I had no idea of how long I stood in the aisle watching him sleep, but my heart dropped when he shifted in his sleep and murmured, “Sophie…”
It was a mistake to try and believe I ever meant anything to Eric and I barely made it to the bathroom in time to throw up my entire lunch.