“Have I made myself clear, Northman?”
“Crystal,” I replied through gritted teeth. I hadn’t intended on my accidental pun, but since I’d just had my ass reamed by Sergeant DeCastro, I couldn’t even enjoy the irony of using the name of the girl who’d been the cause of my ass reaming. I’d pulled over one Crystal Norris at the end of my shift, three days earlier, for a minor traffic violation. She’d failed to use her turn signal when changing lanes and considering I’d seen her entering onto the highway from the Hotshot exit, I thought it would be worth a look see into her piece of shit pickup truck. Hotshot was well known for their meth labs and if I happened to see anything left in plain view, or she was stupid enough to give me permission to search her vehicle, then it couldn’t hurt.
Unfortunately, she was a complete nutcase. She’d tried tossing her hair and flirting with me, which might have worked had she not been, well… her, but when that didn’t work she became irate. While I didn’t see anything illegal in her vehicle, and knowing there’d be no way in hell she’d agree to a search, I decided to write her a ticket for every little infraction I could see thanks to her tirade. Even if I’d known then that she was the Mayor’s niece, which DeCastro just made perfectly clear to me, I still would’ve written the tickets.
I’d have just been more prepared for my ass chewing.
However, I wasn’t prepared for her to run to her uncle claiming I’d sexually harassed her, only writing her the tickets when she’d refused to go out with me.
One: I wouldn’t fuck her with Herveaux’s dick.
And Two: I wouldn’t fuck her with Herveaux’s dick.
She was a three-bagger, but since it wasn’t uncommon for many of the patrolmen to come across potential dates while out on the road, DeCastro assumed, incorrectly I might add, that her story was true. Between working twelve hour shifts and a stream of endless overtime, I didn’t have time to meet women anywhere else and I wasn’t about to dip my pen into company ink after seeing how that dumb bastard Herveaux faired after fucking our fellow officer, Debbie Pelt, after one too many.
He was lucky he didn’t have a pet rabbit or else he’d have found it on his stove in a pot of boiling water.
But that didn’t mean I should be punished for the crazy bitches that were out there either, so fuck that and fuck her. Women had it easy when all they’d have to do is cry ‘wolf’ and poor bastards like me would have to take the fall whether it was true or not. Admittedly, those tactics had worked on me in the past where if they were pleasant, both visually and verbally, I’d let them off with a warning, but it would be a cold day in hell before I ever did that again.
Fuck. Them. All.
I was running soooo late for my lunch in Shreveport with Amelia. We’d first met at the rehabilitation center in Shreveport where we both worked as physical therapists and our friendship grew quickly. We mostly dealt with people who had surgery for one reason or another and needed to strengthen their muscles again. Hip replacements; knee replacements; those were the majority of our cases, so at times it closely resembled a Senior Citizen’s Center. My day off had started off with me just straightening up the kitchen a bit, which led to me just throwing a load of laundry in, and then just organizing my closet a little and before I knew it, I was running late. At least I managed to remember my iPod and had my ‘guilty pleasures’ playlist on hoping to lose myself in bringing Sexy Back along the way. I’d been too busy singing and dancing along (as much as I could with my seatbelt on) to notice the highway patrol car behind me with their lights flashing until I’d heard a thundering, “PULL OVER,” over the music.
I’d had to turn it up to ‘ear splitting’ in order to drown out my own voice.
My body immediately flushed, just like when Mrs. Beck had caught me looking at the trashier romance novels in the library when I was ten, and I quickly pulled over onto the side of the highway while turning the radio down. I’d never been stopped by a police officer before and my hands were shaking in my nervousness as I straightened out my clothing, as though I’d be less likely to get in trouble if I was wrinkle free. I’d jumped in my seat hearing the loud rapping on my window and turned seeing a shiny brass belt buckle, with a holstered gun on the side, and a blue shirt, so I quickly rolled down my window while mentally berating myself for not doing that sooner.
The next thing I knew, steely blue eyes had replaced the brass buckle and I can’t say that I minded one bit. He was handsome as all get out and I nervously smiled while pushing my hair back over my shoulders since it had been flying all over the place when Justin and I were singing our duet. He looked a little pissed off and a nervous chuckle left my lips as I asked, “Is there a problem officer?”
“License. Registration. Insurance,” he barked.
Good Lord! Who pissed in YOUR Wheaties?
I turned, reaching towards my glove box to get the items he’d demanded, when he barked at me again, saying, “I don’t have all day.”
“Neither do I,” I mumbled quietly before turning back with my information in hand. He snatched it from me and stormed back to his patrol car, but I wasn’t sorry he’d gone since he seemed like a giant asshole. It wasn’t too much of a chore watching him walk away in my side view mirror either.
Talk about ‘sexy back’. He had a great ass too.
And that ass, who didn’t have all day, left me sitting there for a full twenty minutes before gracing me with his presence again, only to thrust my things back at me along with an added ticket.
“What’s this for?” I asked stupidly. I knew he was doing something back there, but he hadn’t even told me what I’d done to get pulled over.
He just gave me an angry pointed look before hiding his eyes behind a pair of sunglasses, saying, “You were speeding.” He turned to walk away again, but paused, adding, “And you have horrible tastes in music,” before taking his stupid sexy ass back to his car. I sat there staring at the ticket in my hands and heard him peel off the shoulder of the road before zooming by me when I finally found where it said how fast I’d been going. I blinked wondering if my eyes were playing tricks on me.
I’d been going FOUR miles over the speed limit. If I was more of a badass I would’ve ripped that ticket to shreds and gone after him, throwing the pieces in his face like it was New Year’s Eve in Time Square, but, sadly, I wasn’t a badass. I was Sookie Stackhouse, so I didn’t do those sorts of things, but I would certainly fantasize about them and fantasy him would get a big what-for.
And, maybe after my anger faded, I’d fantasize about Officer Asshole too.
I kind of felt bad after giving my first ticket of the day to the blond with the bad taste in music. She hadn’t been flirting, or anything like that, but I was still in a fucked off mood. Unfortunately for her, she’d caught my eye when she’d driven passed me with her mouth wide open (I now assume she was singing along to bad music) and her blond hair flying around like she was trying to mimic a helicopter hoping to take flight. When my radar told me she as doing four miles over the speed limit, I hesitated for the briefest of moments, before saying ‘fuck it’ to myself.
Four or forty, she was still speeding.
Six tickets later and ticket number one was still eating at me knowing I had taken my earlier frustration out on her. Truth be told, had I not been in a ‘take no prisoners’ mood, I probably would’ve flirted with her and I hadn’t been too pissed off to notice she hadn’t been wearing a wedding band. That didn’t mean she didn’t have a boyfriend out there somewhere, but there was nothing wrong with a little healthy competition and I was cocky enough to believe that I’d win.
At least I WOULD’VE won before giving her a ticket for going four fucking miles over the speed limit.
I was contemplating ripping up my copy of her citation and tracking her down to tell her to disregard it completely when the sounds of horns blaring got my attention. A late model Mustang GT blew by where I’d been parked behind a billboard on the side of the highway and I threw my patrol car into drive, taking off after it. It took me getting up to 90 miles per hour before I caught up to him, but as soon as I got behind him, he signaled to the right and pulled over onto the shoulder. I could see in his side view mirror that he was just a kid and figured he’d been out joy riding, seeing how fast he could go, and I walked up to the window, asking, “Where’s the fire?”
“Huh?” he asked, swallowing hard.
The kid was sweating bullets and I chuckled, saying, “You were going a little fast, don’t you think?”
“Umm…yes sir,” he replied. I wasn’t sure if his eyes would ever set back into his head properly seeing how bugged out they were.
I shook my head at him feeling amused since there was once a time when I’d been in his exact position and it was because of how that cop had treated me with the same amusement that made me want to be one. He’d cut me a break and I knew right then that I more than likely wouldn’t be giving this kid a ticket if his information turned out okay when I looked him up.
“License, registration, and insurance, son.”
Christ, was I really that old?
I supposed I was because they were looking younger and younger these days and as I walked back to my patrol car with Benedict Talley’s ID in hand, I wondered if there’d ever come a time when I’d have my own kid.
I sure as shit wouldn’t get them a Mustang GT.
I’d just reached for the door handle of my cruiser when I heard from behind me, “I’m gonna need my stuff back, Sir.”
I turned automatically and saw Talley standing a few feet away with a gun in his hand pointed right at me. His expression had gone from a frightened kid into a stone cold killer and as my eyes took in his finger, already pressing down on the trigger, I felt my Kevlar vest against my chest with every expansion of my lungs. But that would do me no good since his gun was aimed at my head and all I could do was wonder if I’d even make it out of there alive to ever have the chance at having a kid.
Amelia and her nonstop chatter had kept us at the diner for not only lunch, but then dinner as well. Just like my list of chores, our conversation started off with one thing that led to another and then another and then another. She was appalled when I showed her my ticket and let a bunch of expletives fly, but her tune changed in a heartbeat when I described what Officer Asshole looked like.
‘Om nom nom’ was repeated numerous times; more than four: the number of miles over the speed limit I’d been traveling.
I was tired, but grateful that I’d missed the rush hour traffic. The further away from Shreveport I got, the less crowded the highway was and as I rounded a bend in the road, the flashing red lights up ahead immediately caught my eye in the darkening night. I wondered if it was Officer Asshole ruining some other person’s day for committing the ultimate crime of listening to Justin Timberlake, but as I got closer, I couldn’t believe what I saw.
It was Officer Asshole! There was no mistaking his height and build (it was seared into my memory) and there was a guy standing a few feet away pointing a gun right at him!
Just what kind of music had HE been listening too?
I looked around in a complete panic, not knowing what I was looking for, but not knowing what to do either. There were no other cars in sight and I’d taken my foot off the gas pedal, letting my car slow down on its own, while trying to think of something I could do. I knew I just couldn’t drive by and hope for the best, but I didn’t even have a can of pepper spray with me to use as a weapon.
I pounded my hand against the steering wheel in frightened frustration wondering what in the hell I was going to do when it dawned on me.
My car was a weapon.
I didn’t have time to think about it after that. The distance was closing between us quickly and while I’d slowed down to about forty miles an hour from the fifty-five I’d been going (thanks to my ticket, I’d double checked every few minutes), I knew I’d have to time it just right. The guy with the gun was standing closer to the edge of the driving lane with Officer Asshole standing further back, right by his patrol car, so I turned off my headlights hoping it would give me a few more seconds and praying I’d have the element of surprise on my side.
Just as the guy seemed to hear my car, he turned his head towards me and everything that happened after that, happened quickly. There was a flash of light; a loud shot rang out; and then he flew over the hood of my car and into my windshield.
“SHOTS FIRED! OFFICER DOWN! SHOTS FIRED! OFFICER DOWN!”
I let go of the radio mike on my collar just as the pain started to register through the ebbing adrenaline coursing through me. The bullet had ripped through my shoulder, throwing me down onto the ground, and felt like it was on fire, but I managed to pull myself back up onto my feet and stared in shock at the scene before me. I really didn’t think I’d be the one walking away after seeing the look in that kid’s eyes.
He was going to kill me.
But now I was the one on my feet and seeing the mangled mess he was now, with his unmoving body halfway in through the broken windshield, he most definitely wasn’t walking away. The bullet had ripped through my left shoulder making my left arm hang limply at my side; I couldn’t even feel my fingers and being that I was left handed it would make things difficult, but all things considered, I couldn’t really complain. As I started making my way towards my savior, I could hear the sounds of sirens rapidly approaching, but I blocked them out when I really took in the sight before me.
It looked just like ticket number one’s car.
I shook my head in disbelief, chanting, “No fucking way,” over and over until I got to the driver’s side door and saw the blond head lying against the deployed airbag. “Holy shit!” I shouted, yanking her door open and asking, “Are you okay?”
She didn’t move and I knew better than to try and move her, but seeing the blood on the airbag and the tiny shards of glass littering her hair was making my good hand twitch. I wanted to pull her out of the car and shake her awake; apologize for being such a dick and thank her for saving my life.
I’d definitely be ripping up that ticket.
Since she was facing away from me, I peered up and over through the broken windshield and saw that her face was pretty cut up, but nothing too bad that I could see and I crouched down next to her just as my entire squad came screeching up to the scene. Her arm didn’t look damaged, so I patted it with my good hand, asking, “Number One? Can you hear me? Say something.”
I couldn’t think straight to try and remember her name, but I sighed in relief when I heard her moan.
Moaning was good. Other types of moaning would be even better, but I’d take what I could get.
I was surrounded by a sea of blue seconds later with everyone clamoring around us and I moved to give the EMT’s room to work on her while I answered DeCastro’s questions on what had happened. He tried to get me to get on a gurney, but I refused to even get into the ambulance until Number One was out of her car. I was still dumbfounded that she’d done anything to help me, much less put herself at such a big risk. There was no way she’d done it accidentally; I’d seen the car approaching and the headlights go out in my peripheral vision, but everything had happened so fast, I didn’t have time to think about much of anything except dying. He could’ve have very easily turned his gun on her and while I might have been able to get a shot off to take him down, it could’ve been too late to save her.
Did she not have any self-preservation instincts?
“Well, looky here!” Herveaux shouted.
I forced my eyes away from Number One to where Alcide was standing by Talley’s trunk. The trajectory of Number One’s car as she slammed into Talley made her crash right into the left rear side of the Mustang, with the impact causing the trunk to pop open, and I was close enough and tall enough to be able to see the brick’s of cocaine underneath the blanket he’d just pulled back from where I stood.
At least that explained it.
I hadn’t been able to figure out what had made him willing to kill me in order to get away, especially since I hadn’t planned on ticketing him at all, but the threat of twenty-plus years in prison was a big motivator to some. I felt like an even bigger asshole now knowing I wasn’t going to ticket a kid easily doing thirty miles over the speed limit while I’d ticketed Number One for a whole fucking four.
Maybe she should’ve hit ME with her car instead.
My attention was drawn back when I heard one of the EMT’s say, “She’s waking up,” and I scrambled over to the side of the gurney they’d just placed her on.
Her eyes fluttered open and she hissed in pain before seeing me staring down at her. I could tell she was still a little out of it, with her eyes trying to focus on me, before she smiled softly and sighed, “Officer Asshole…you’re okay.”
I wasn’t the only one to laugh at her name for me; Herveaux thought she was hilarious, but she’d earned the right to call me whatever in the hell she wanted for the rest of her life and I smiled back at her, asking, “How are you feeling Number One?”
Her eyebrows furrowed hearing her own nickname and I couldn’t help staring at her face. Even covered in tiny cuts and blood from the broken glass and with a black eye forming, she was prettier than I had remembered. I must have been too busy glaring and blaming her for other people’s misdeeds to notice earlier.
Officer Asshole was a more apt nickname than I’d care to admit.
“Number One?” she asked, looking confused before she grinned, adding, “Does that make you Number Two since you were shitty?”
She seemed a bit punch drunk, which was to be expected after what she’d just been through, so I walked alongside her gurney as they wheeled her towards the ambulance, not caring who would hear my confession as I admitted, “I’m so sorry for the way I acted earlier and I certainly don’t deserve your forgiveness, but…what you did…after what I did…I…I just…I’ll forever be in your debt.”
My eyes had dropped to her hands as I spoke, the shame over how I’d treated her earlier weighing heavily on me, but when she hadn’t said anything I forced my eyes back up to her face and saw her own eyes were closed again. I wasn’t sure how much of my apology she’d heard, but I climbed into the ambulance after her and sat next to her gurney, not wanting to leave her alone after everything she’d done for me. Her eyes fluttered open again as soon as they hit the sirens when we’d hit the city limits and she looked surprised to see me as she repeated, “Officer Asshole…you’re okay.”
The EMT riding in the back with us chuckled and I smiled down at her, unable to stop myself from brushing her hair out of her face, as I said, “I guess that means you’re still mad at me, huh?”
She yawned and her eyes fluttered shut again as she mumbled, “No…you brought sexy back.”
I had the weirdest dream. Even as I felt myself slowly waking up I could vividly remember dancing with Justin Timberlake, who was dressed as a cop, that somehow then morphed into some Star Trek thing where Captain Picard told me, “You have the con number one,” and left me flying the Starship Enterprise.
Who in the hell has dreams like that?
More confusing than my dream was where in the hell I was once I opened my eyes. I blinked and moved my hands to rub the hospital room hallucination from my vision, only to discover there were tubes and wires attached to them.
“Sookie! You’re awake!”
I cringed and closed my eyes again, whispering, “Do you even have an indoor voice Amelia?” Now that I was awake, my head was pounding and I tried to recall the last thing I could remember. It came back to me in fragments, but I eventually remembered all the way up to when I had to make the choice between saving Officer Asshole or minding my own business. My only hope now was that God would understand when it was my time to pass on and I couldn’t muster up much guilt over my actions yet. While Officer Asshole had been an asshole (hence the nickname), just the fact that he’d chosen to be a police officer gave him more brownie points with me than the low life who looked willing to kill him over God knows what. Whatever it was, it certainly wasn’t worth taking Officer Asshole’s life.
Thinking about it all made me realize that I didn’t even know what happened after that. My memories ended with the crash and my eyes popped open with me making my headache even worse when I screeched at Amelia, “What happened to Officer Asshole? Is he okay?”
Her eyes took on a dreamy look as she asked, “You mean Officer Sex-On-A-Stick? Yeah, he’s fine.”
I slumped back with a relieved, “Oh…well, that’s good.”
I was too afraid to ask about the other guy right now, so I set that aside to think about later.
“He’s been by checking on you like every hour on the hour,” Amelia said.
“Who?” I asked, still not feeling quite right. I felt loopy and my head was all over the place.
“Officer McFuckMe,” she purred.
“Oh, is he Irish?” I snorted and winced at the pain it caused.
“Does it matter?” she asked, waggling her eyebrows.
And THIS was how lunch dates with Amelia ended up lasting for hours on end.
I just shook my head, not wanting to prolong anything since I still felt weird, and asked, “When can I go home? What’s wrong with me?”
“They were just waiting on you to wake up and make sure you weren’t any wackier than normal. You know, like randomly saving some cop’s life by wielding your Chevy Malibu. Sookie Stackhouse: Malibu Warrior Princess. Maybe you could get your own Barbie named after you!”
Amelia’s words sat like a huge rock in the pit of my gut and I guessed ‘later’ ended up being right now, so I whispered, “Did he die?”
I didn’t have to specify who and her eyes softened making mine mist up now that I knew for sure that I’d taken a life. Granted, I’d done it to save someone else’s life and if I had to do it all over again, I still would, but that didn’t make me feel any better about it. Amelia crawled up alongside of me on the bed and wrapped her arms around me as I wept onto her shoulder, telling me, “You know he would have killed that cop, right?”
“How can we really know, though?” I cried. “Maybe he would’ve just run away or something. I just panicked and knew I couldn’t live with myself if I saw McFuckMe’s death on the news.”
My sobs got heavier, but the sound of a second voice startled me when I heard it say, “He would’ve killed me.”
The sight of her crying was worse than the pain from being shot, especially knowing she was crying over something she’d done to save me; a complete stranger who’d been nothing but a complete dick to her during our one brief meeting. I forced the ‘McFuckMe’ nickname aside (but it would be taken out later and thoroughly examined) and entered her room. She’d been out of it for a few hours now, but I couldn’t stay with her the whole time. I’d had to give a statement and get my wound treated, so I kept running back and forth, in between x-rays and talking to the police chief, to check on her. I felt better now that she was finally awake, but I hated that she felt guilty over her actions. I understood it, but I hated it.
Her red rimmed blue eyes stared back at me and I could see she was going to have one hell of a shiner in another few hours, but she was still just as pretty as I’d remembered. While I wanted to take away any guilt or pain she may have felt, I hadn’t been lying, so I repeated, “He would’ve killed me. I could see it in his eyes and I doubt I had a full sixty seconds left to live when you saved me.”
“Why?” she asked. “What did he do? Why did he want to kill you?”
I was found I was more than a little envious of her friend’s position, wishing I could be the one to comfort her like that, but it wasn’t my place, nor did I deserve to, and stood there stoically as I answered, “I’m not really sure. He seemed like nothing more than a nervous kid, scared that he’d been pulled over and the next thing I knew, he was out of his car with a gun pointed at me.” Her eyes never left mine and they furrowed when I winced, temporarily forgetting my wound when I’d tried to shrug, as I added, “We found a bunch of drugs in his trunk, so that may be why, but all I know is that he was going to kill me.”
Her eyes traveled across my chest and lingered on my arm in the sling, asking, “What happened? How did you get hurt?”
I caught myself from almost shrugging again and said, “He got a shot off just as…well, you know…right when…”
“I killed him with my car,” she whispered, finishing for me.
I had been trying to find a more vanilla way to say something other than those very words and came up with, “When you saved my life.”
She shook her head minutely, as if she didn’t believe me, but only asked, “Are you okay?”
She looked so sad and all I could remember was how bright her personality had been that afternoon, right before I turned into Officer Asshole, and I wanted to see her smile again, but didn’t know how to make that happen and blurted out, “I’d feel better if you smiled or at least didn’t look so sad.”
Her friend seemed to think that was her cue to leave because she was smiling as she got up and said, “I’m just going to go and see about getting you outta here Sook, but take your time with Officer Mc…”
“Amelia!” she shouted as a blush bloomed on her cheeks, only making her friend laugh even harder as she walked out of the room. Looking back at me, she smiled shyly, saying, “Sorry. She has a terminal case of ADHD.” At my quizzical look, she explained, “Amelia Doesn’t Have Decency and it’s terminal because I’m going to kill her for it.”
We both laughed and then we both groaned from the pain it caused only making us laugh and alternately groan harder. When we finally calmed down she jutted her chin forward, asking, “What’s wrong with your arm?”
“I don’t know,” I admitted. “The doctor said something about nerve damage and I might have to go to physical therapy. The bullet passed through my shoulder and at first I couldn’t even move my arm or feel my hand, but it’s starting to tingle now and he said it’ll probably take some time before I feel normal again.”
She smiled again, and I was liking the way it looked more and more, when she said, “Physical therapy, huh?”
“Yes,” I answered hesitantly. “Why?”
“I’d like to offer you a deal,” she began. “A barter of services; you see, I happen to be a physical therapist, so I’d be happy to treat you free of charge.”
This was sounding better and better, but I couldn’t imagine what she’d want in return and asked, “In exchange for?”
Her eyebrows furrowed and her lips scrunched up like an angry kitten as she chided, “You rip up that ticket you gave me! Four miles? FOUR? What kind of cockamamie BS was that?”
I held up my good hand, trying not to laugh, and said, “Calm down Number One, that ticket was never going to see the light of day.”
“What do you mean, ‘It was never going to see the light of day’,” she mocked, continuing, “and why are you calling me Number One?” looking even more confused.
“Because I’d already planned on ripping it up before the fiasco,” I paused and then explained further, “I felt bad for giving you such a hard time. I was just in a bad mood over some other stupid stuff earlier this morning and I took it out on you. I’m really, really sorry.”
She stared me down while she mentally chewed over my words before finally saying, “You’re forgiven. Now what’s this ‘Number One’ nonsense?”
I couldn’t help smiling as I admitted, “Well, I couldn’t remember your name off the top of my head and when I tried to rouse you before the EMT’s arrived, I called you Number One because yours was the first ticket I’d written today.”
“Oh,” she said softly. “Well, my name’s Sookie. Sookie Stackhouse.”
“Well Sookie Stackhouse, I’m Eric Northman, but feel free to call me whatever you want.” I stifled the urge to throw in Officer McFuckMe, preferring that much more than Officer Asshole, and added, “But I think I’m gonna stick with calling you Number One. It seems to be my lucky number.”
I invited McFuckMe, I mean, Eric, to come by my house a few days later for lunch and to get started on his first physical therapy session. I still felt sore all over, but it wasn’t too bad and I wouldn’t be going back to work until the following week. I knew I could have reneged on our deal since saving his life certainly trumped ripping up my bogus ticket, but he’d looked so guilt ridden over my ordeal, I thought it would be a good way to show him that I really was fine.
It didn’t hurt that HE was fine, either.
Every day following ‘the incident’ I received a fresh bouquet of flowers from him and every day I would call to thank him. We’d ended up talking for hours on the phone and I was really starting to like him. He was funny and sweet, so unlike the man who’d pulled me over and criticized my taste in music, but I couldn’t hold that against him; there was a reason why that song was in my guilty pleasures playlist.
He showed up at exactly eleven o’clock in the morning and I opened the door, saying, “Hey there. Did you have any problems finding the house?” The old farmhouse I’d inherited from Gran sat back from the road and it wasn’t visible through the trees, so if you didn’t know it was there, it was easy to miss the driveway.
He stared at the bruises discoloring my face for a moment before shaking it off and answering, “No, no problems.” He walked in with his eyes taking in everything around him, asking, “So, do you live all the way out here all alone?”
I really wished I could remember what a bad idea shrugging was, but answered him through the dull ache, saying, “Yes, but this house has been in my family for generations, so I’m used to it.” When he faced me he clearly looked delighted by my answer, but I couldn’t figure out why, so I asked. “Why?”
“No reason,” he smiled. He really had a great smile and I felt even dumpier knowing I had a black eye and tiny red cuts all over my face, but I still couldn’t look away from him. After a long moment, he asked, “So, is there a boyfriend? Doesn’t he worry about you living way back in the woods all by yourself?”
Is he…fishing? For information about me? My love life? MY love life?
He’d alluded to the fact that he was single more than once during our previous conversations, but I’d never reciprocated. I hadn’t been sure if he’d been digging then, but now I had to wonder. I felt like I had the upper hand and wasn’t quite ready to relinquish it just yet, only answering, “Nope,” and left it hanging there between us, waiting to see what he would do with it.
Judging by the look on his face, he wanted to shoot it right between its eyes.
It was killing him, but I already saved his life once this week. He’d just have to figure a way out of this one himself and I tried not to smile while watching him fight within himself over asking or just dropping the subject altogether when he finally blurted out, “‘Nope’, what?”
“Hmm?” I answered coyly, trying to keep my lips from turning upwards to hide my amusement.
I wasn’t prepared when he took a step closer to me making me all kinds of discombobulated. He was so tall; his shoulders were so broad; his chest looked like it was made just for my hands and I remembered all too well his sexy back and ass.
And my bedroom was just down the hall…
I was starting to think that having him there might be a very bad idea and wished I’d been taking something stronger than Tylenol, so I could blame any subsequent hussiness on my part on the drugs. His eyes were smoldering down at me, very much different from the first time they’d glared at me, and he leaned down to whisper in my ear, “Does my Number One have a boyfriend?”
My breath caught in my throat and while my inner Independent Sookie wanted to stand up and shake her fist at him over being called ‘his’ anything, I was just lucky my actual knees hadn’t given out yet. I didn’t realize I hadn’t answered him until he got even closer and my ear filled with the moisture of his warm breath as he asked, “Well?”
“No,” I whispered against his neck.
It had a couple of days’ worth of scruff and smelled reeeeaaally good.
A chill ran down my spine when I felt his tongue dart out to taste the spot just below my ear before he moved to where his lips hovered just above mine, asking, “May I kiss you?”
I hadn’t planned on any of this. My plan had been to get to know her slowly, become friends first and hopefully something more in the future. Of course I’d found her to be sexy as hell and after getting to know her better during our marathon phone conversations, I liked her even more, but I respected her too much to want to push her into anything she wasn’t ready for. She didn’t strike me as the one night stand kind of gal and I wasn’t looking for that from her either. I wanted something more; something real. I didn’t know if she’d end up being ‘the one’, but I was at a point in my life where I was finally ready to settle down. After everything that had happened in the last few days, I didn’t want to put things off waiting for ‘someday’ knowing sometimes you ran out of days before ‘someday’ ever rolled around.
Those had been my intentions…
But as soon as I walked in the door, I was overcome by everything about her. I hated seeing the bruises on her face knowing I was the cause, but loved the bruises on her face knowing she’d done that to save me. There weren’t many people out there who would willingly put themselves at risk to save a complete stranger and the fact that Sookie had done just that still floored me, but it also told me a lot about her. So many women her age, and especially with her great looks, were so self involved. They assumed and acted as though the world orbited around them, but Sookie was nothing like that. If anything, she seemed self-deprecating and it only made her more beautiful, but now that I was so close to her, all I could think about was getting even closer. With the way I was feeling, I didn’t know what I wanted more; for her to push me away or for her to push me into her bed. I was afraid of moving too fast and possibly wrecking anything we might have the potential of becoming, while being afraid I would die if I didn’t at least get to kiss her.
Such a small word and yet it brought such a strong wave of euphoria over me that I felt light headed for a second, but I didn’t let that stop me from gently placing my lip to hers. I restrained myself from really letting go, not knowing know what she wanted and let her take the lead, so when her tongue gently pushed against my lower lip, I let her in.
It was but the first snowflake in what quickly became an avalanche.
Her fingers wove into my hair and I wrapped my good arm around her, pulling her body flush against mine and ignoring the pain that shot through my shoulder; not caring about anything other than her and how she made me feel in that moment. She tasted of coffee with a hint of vanilla and my tongue dove deeper wanting to lap up every trace of it I could find. I kept waiting for her to pull away, already dreading what I thought was inevitable and savoring everything she offered me while I could, so I tried not to look disappointed when she finally broke our kiss. I couldn’t hide my surprise, however, when her fingers left my hair only to land on my chest where they slowly opened each button of my button-down shirt. Her eyes stayed locked onto mine, almost hesitantly, as though she was waiting for me to stop her.
She’d be waiting forever for that to happen.
Neither one of us had said a word until she had my shirt opened wide and she whispered, “Lean down.”
I did as she asked and was rewarded by her hands sliding around my neck, gently lifting the sling over my head that held my arm in place, and removing it altogether. My shirt soon followed and she led me to the couch where she sat me down in the middle before straddling my lap. While my left arm still had some numbness, a lot of the feeling had come back over the days following the shooting and Sookie took my hand into hers, holding it in between us, asking, “How does it feel?”
She was gently massaging my hand, but she was sitting on the one part of my body that had the most sensation at the moment and I may have even been speaking of that area when I answered, “Good.”
Really, really good.
My right hand had been resting on her hip and moved to her lower back, holding her tighter against me and I stifled my own desire to let it slide further down into the back of her pants, still unsure of where this pleasurable torture session was leading to.
“The sensations are coming back?” she asked softly and when I nodded, unable to actually speak thanks to her shifting over my now painful erection, she surprised me again by pulling her shirt over her head and holding my left hand over her lace covered breast, saying, “And what about your strength? Are you able to grip?”
No…I was quickly losing my grip.
“Sookie?” I was dangerously close to losing what little control I still had and my voice came out as both a growl and a plea all rolled into one. My left hand answered her question by gripping the lace covered flesh she’d offered while the fingers of my right hand trailed heavily over her waistband; hovering; waiting like a colorblind man trying to figure out if the light was red or green. When her own hand slipped between us and started working to get my pants open and she arched her back, pressing even more of her body against me, my mind shouted with glee.
A soft giggle left her lips as she asked, “Oh, it’s Sookie now, huh?” while her hands never stopped working. She moved to the side and I lifted my hips, letting her pull my pants down my legs, and I kicked them free while she quickly removed the rest of her clothes, with her saying, “I thought I was Number One.”
Seeing her standing there completely naked, I doubted I’d ever think of her as anything but Number One from then on. My eyes saw past the bruising from where her seatbelt locked down at the moment of impact to the stunningly beautiful woman underneath it all and I pulled her back down on top of me, needing to feel her naked flesh against my own. She moaned into my mouth and I would’ve worried I’d hurt her if it wasn’t for her hips grinding even harder against my cock, bathing it with her arousal, and I was seriously starting to worry that I’d end up embarrassing myself by coming before we ever really started.
We hadn’t discussed birth control; hell, I’d only just learned for sure that she was single ten minutes earlier, so I was relieved when I heard the telltale sound of foil ripping when she magically produced a condom in her hand. “Well, you’re certainly prepared,” I said, with my eyes rolling into the back of my head as I struggled to think about anything other than the feeling of her hands rolling the condom onto me.
She lined her hips up with mine and placed me at her entrance, sighing, “Like a boy scout,” as she slowly slid down my length.
“Fuck,” I grunted. She was so warm and tight, when added to everything else I already knew and liked about her, had I known of her existence beforehand, she would’ve been Number One on my bucket list too.
“I’m working on it,” she whispered while chewing her way across my earlobe. “Give a girl a chance to adjust.”
It was a catch twenty-two because while I wanted to experience the ecstasy of my inevitable orgasmic bliss, I’d also be perfectly content to just stay inside of her forever, feeling my own pulse throbbing against hers. Since she was the only reason I still had a pulse to begin with, I was pretty certain that meant it was hers anyway.
When her hips started moving again, my hands slid to her breasts and she moaned and gasped with every touch of my fingers. Her rhythm sped up and my mouth latched onto her left breast while my right hand slid between us. I could feel her inner muscles fluttering around my cock and my eyes were starting to cross over the effort it took for me to hold off my own urges. I refused to cum before her and when my fingertips found her clit, they circled it at a furious pace. My mouth switched to her right breast and my left hand held onto her hip, helping her ride me as I thrust up into her. Both of her hands held onto the back of my head and her rhythm faltered as I felt her body tense up as she gasped loudly before crying, “ERIC!”
Her walls clamped down on me and I gripped her hips firmly with both hands knowing I could now let go and thrust into her twice more as I came with a roar of her name. We were both left panting and covered in a light sheen of sweat and my head flopped backwards onto the couch as I tried to catch my breath. She rested her body against mine with her head tucked against my right shoulder and when she felt the fingertips of my left hand lightly tracing over her skin, she laughed softly as she said, “Umm…I think it’s safe to say that I believe you’re on the road to recovery.”
She squealed when I surprised her by flipping us over so that she was underneath me on the couch and immediately protested, “No no no no no…I think I’m going to need numerous, intensive therapeutic treatments before I can be declared fit for duty.”
My lips started kissing a path that began at her swollen lips, moving on to the hollow of her throat, with me already certain I could never get enough of her, and as my lips trailed lower down her body, her legs opened up wider as she giggled, “I’ll agree to take your second opinion under advisement, but you’d better make a strong case.”
Two years later…
“I’m home!” I called out as I walked in through the back door. I’d moved into the farmhouse with Sookie after we’d only been dating for three months when we both realized I hadn’t been to my apartment in weeks. Everyone thought we were crazy and that we were moving too fast, but we didn’t see it that way which was why I didn’t hesitate to propose to her just one month later and while she immediately accepted, we waited a full year before actually tying the knot.
We weren’t THAT crazy.
“Sookie?” I called out again since she hadn’t answered me. It was our one year anniversary and we had reservations for dinner in Shreveport, so I headed into our room to change and noticed the bathroom door was shut. After locking up my gun, I started stripping out of my uniform and knowing I should probably shower before getting dressed up, I knocked on the door, asking, “No-No? You in there?”
Her nickname of ‘Number One’ had morphed into just the initials ‘N’ and ‘O’, then becoming ‘No-No’, which made for confusing conversations at times, but I still liked it anyway.
“Mmhmm,” she sniffled through the closed door.
“What’s wrong?” I asked and turned the door handle to find her sitting on the edge of the tub crying softly.
Without looking up, she thrust her hand at me and I immediately recognized what she was holding. We’d been trying to get pregnant for close to six months, but it hadn’t happened for us yet and it wasn’t the first time I’d found her in tears after seeing only one line on the test stick. I pushed away my own disappointment and wrapped my arm around her, taking the stick from her hand and shushed, “It’s okay. We’ll keep…”
The words died in my throat when I flipped the stick over in my hand. Sookie had been holding it with the test windows facing down, but now that I’d flipped it over I could see two lines. I couldn’t take my eyes from it, afraid to believe what I was seeing and being wrong, so I hesitantly asked in a shaky voice, “No-No?”
Sookie’s happy tear stricken face appeared in my line of sight a second later and she grabbed onto my face and with her lips pressed against mine, she confirmed, “Yes-Yes.”