I held my breath while Sookie left me dangling on the other end of the line until she finally said, “Hmm…tomorrow night?”
“Umm…yeah, or…if that’s not good for you, then…you know…whenever is fine,” I stuttered, grateful I’d thought to remove my latex gloves since I’d just smacked myself in the forehead over being a bumbling idiot. After everything Corbett had spilled to me in the office the day before, it didn’t surprise me that she’d have to think about it. Sookie was a beautiful fun loving woman. She probably had a ton of guys beating down her door, so it made sense that she had to think over whether or not she already had another date lined up. Meanwhile, I’d just admitted that any night was fine with me because, work aside, it was true.
My heart sank when she admitted, “Actually, tomorrow I already have plans.”
Of course she does.
Before my pity party could really take hold, she continued, “But you’re more than welcome to join me.”
“Umm…” I started, wondering if she was actually inviting me to go out on one of her dates.
Maybe I could get pointers and take notes since I’d never actually gone out on a REAL date before, but witnessing their end of the night kiss might get awkward.
“DUDE!” the naked guy I’d dubbed ‘Zack’ in my head shouted while jumping around and gesturing frantically at his still naked body on the bed, but I just shot him a pointed look and ignored him.
There were just TOO many parts of him jiggling for me to want to look anywhere but his eyes.
“Well?” I jumped hearing Sookie’s voice because I didn’t hear it through the ear piece and instead was coming from right behind me. I spun around to see her smiling face as she giggled, “You sure are a jumpy thing.”
Yeah, well…I’ve got NOTHING on Zack.
“I just wasn’t expecting you to be there…here…” She just stared at me still smiling, so I kept rambling on with, “I thought you’d be here,” and pointed to my cell phone which was still against my ear before slowly lowering it to my side.
We were already standing pretty close to one another, but Sookie closed the distance even more so. With our bodies a hair’s breadth apart from one another she slowly shook her head, allowing mine to be filled with the scent of her shampoo and perfume, drowning out Zack’s smell, and said, “No, I’m right here.”
My brain emptied; all of my thoughts and blood ran southward in my body like they were being chased by their worst nightmare, only the woman in front of me that was the cause of it all was more like a dream come true.
And if I didn’t get a rein on things, it would turn out to be a WET dream come true.
“I can see that,” I said, barely above a whisper.
“The FUCK, man? You just gonna leave me hangin’ there for the world to see?”
Unfortunately, I could see Zack too.
“So, how about it?” she asked.
“I’ll get to him in a minute,” I answered, still lost in her. I would swear I could feel the heat radiating off of her body.
Or maybe it was the radiator still pumping heat into the already sweltering room, but…whatever.
When her eyebrows furrowed, I realized I’d answered the wrong question, but being that close to her made me lose any grip I’d previously had on keeping my wits about me. Thankfully, she once again seemed to overlook my slip-up and said, “I’m not interested in him at the moment…”
“Why would she be when I look like a melted marshmallow peep? COVER ME UP DUDE!”
Shut UP Zack!
Sookie took that fateful step closer so that I could actually feel every contraction of her lungs as she breathed, lightly pressing herself against the front of my body, and I regretfully twitched backwards hoping she wouldn’t feel the effect it was having on my lower half. I could hear the other officers talking near the still open doorway, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of her and I blamed the heat for my next lapse in judgment as I asked, “What are you interested in at the moment?”
I was out of my element. Never had I been more affected by a woman; a beautiful woman to be sure, but it wasn’t just her looks; a woman that I only really knew anything about thanks to her father; who was dead; and my best friend. But none of that mattered at the moment with logic failing me completely; she owned me.
I was fucked on SO many different levels.
The sound of a man’s voice calling out Sookie’s name from somewhere on the other side of the door broke the spell we’d been under and we both turned to face the door where Detective Alcide Herveaux stood. I’d worked with him before and had always been intimidated by his size. While I was a couple inches taller than him, he easily had thirty pounds on me and all of it was muscle. He was big; brawny.
His picture should be on the side of a roll of paper towels.
I sensed, more than saw, Sookie taking a step back from me and looked down to see her smiling in his direction as she said, “Really Alcide, if I didn’t know any better I’d swear you were raised by wolves. Must you howl my name?”
I really wished I hadn’t looked over at him because then I wouldn’t have seen his wolfish grin directed back at her before he sized me up, his eyes taking in the lack of physical distance between us. He appeared to dismiss my presence just as quickly, like most people who knew of me did, and looked back at her saying, “Aww, Stackhouse…you know I love the way you make me howl.”
So this must be one of my competitors…I might as well just forfeit now.
My eyes dropped to the floor, not wanting to see any flirting between them, and wished I could somehow mute my hearing as well, but that would’ve been a mistake on my part because Sookie’s next words surprised the hell out of me. She subconsciously took a step even closer to me, so that her side was pressed against my own, and her hands landed on her hips as she said, “Alcide Herveaux! What have I told you about talking nasty to me? I’m a lady and I’m armed, but if that’s not enough to cool your heels then I’ll be sure to mention your behavior to Debbie the next time she wanders into the station to do her daily dick check on you.”
So…he’s NOT my competitor?
He’d been amused by her rant until she’d mentioned ‘Debbie’, causing the color to drain from his face and I stood a little taller, visualizing myself now at the head of the imaginary pack, as he mumbled apologetically, “I was just kidding.”
Sookie was having none of it, but it only confused me more. While she’d been friendly with him at first, it was glaringly apparent she wanted no part in engaging in any flirty banter with him.
The glare she was giving him confirmed it.
But what left me confused was why she acted so differently with me. She didn’t know me; not like I knew her. She obviously knew Herveaux well enough to know his dick was checked daily by this Debbie woman, so it would stand to reason that she must not kid around as often as Corbett had led me to believe.
So why did she do so with me?
I didn’t consider myself hideous looking, but I didn’t think I was anything special either. My six foot four inch height was the only reason I attracted any attention at all, unless, of course, I was talking to thin air.
THAT got me A LOT of attention.
All of my previous sexual experiences, as limited as they were, had come about with the help of anonymity and a little alcohol, so that didn’t explain Sookie’s behavior either, but the question was; did I really want to question it? The jury came back quickly.
The sound of Sookie’s voice pulled me from my thoughts as she told Herveaux, “Yeah, well, why don’t you go joke around with the dirt bag next door and see what he knows about stinky over there?” Once he was gone she turned to me and smiled, saying, “Sorry. He’s the definition of why cops are called ‘pigs’. Now, where were we?” She licked her lips, which were much closer now that she was once again standing in my personal space, and said, “Oh yes, you wanted to know what I was interested in.”
Her smile had yet to leave her face and my questions about why were long gone with my control quickly slipping. I’d never been aggressive in any facet of my life, but Sookie brought out animalistic instincts in me I never knew I had and I was afraid if she continued to push my buttons I just might push her up against the nearest flat surface. Perhaps Sookie had sensed my internal struggles, as her eyes took in the tension in my shoulders and the blood pulsing rapidly through my carotid artery thanks to the pounding in my chest, because she took a step back. The flirty banter was gone from her voice and replaced with a much more G-rated friendly tone as she said, “Among other things, an answer. I promised my Gran I’d have dinner with her tomorrow night at her house in Bon Temps, but you’re more than welcome to join us.”
What was the question again?
It took a moment for me to sift through the lust in my head to go back to our previous conversation, but I eventually recalled it, while wondering if I’d somehow frightened her for her to change her tone so quickly. I hoped that wasn’t the case and relaxed my shoulders and smiled, asking, “Are you sure she won’t mind?”
I’d practiced the question three times in my head so I wouldn’t fuck it up and end up asking her to marry me instead.
Sookie was confusing the hell out of me, but I couldn’t say that I didn’t enjoy it and being invited to meet her family could just mean exactly what she’d said; an invitation to dinner, but my brain sped along at a mile a minute making leaps and bounds that Superman wouldn’t be able to keep up with.
Was I still in the running? Did that put me ahead of the competition?
Her smile brightened as she answered, “No, Gran’s motto is ‘The more, the merrier’.”
There was definitely some sort of chemistry between me and Sookie, at least I hoped I wasn’t misjudging things, but after Corbett’s warning about her just kidding around, I couldn’t be too sure. After seeing her interaction with Herveaux, I just knew that she didn’t kid around with everybody and at least if we were having dinner with her Grandmother then I’d be less likely to make a fool of myself by silently drooling while staring at her.
Speaking of which…
I swallowed the drool that had formed in my mouth and nodded, saying, “Sure, I’d love to.”
“Great!” Sookie beamed. “I’ll call you tomorrow and we can ride up together.”
“Okay,” I replied, happy at the thought of seeing her again so soon and on a more personal level, and watched her bounce merrily out the door with my eyes lingering for a long moment afterward.
I turned around and got busy bagging the body to appease Zack’s modesty, but even the stench of his decaying corpse couldn’t wipe the smile from my face.
I got Chow to switch shifts with me the next day, so I could go with Sookie to her Gran’s. It was something I’d never asked of him before and he badgered me relentlessly wanting to know why, but when I told him I had a date he just acted incensed, saying, “Fine! Don’t tell me!” I imagined a normal reaction would be to brag about how beautiful my date was, but I already knew I wasn’t normal. I didn’t want to share what little I knew of her with anyone else, not that I had a lot of people to tell, but I liked having a connection with her and wanted to keep it all to myself. It only made the thought of my competition all the harder to bear, but I couldn’t hold it against her.
This was just a date.
Hopefully our first wouldn’t end up being our last as well and all day long I practiced reinforcing my mental shields just in case it became necessary later on. I successfully ignored Zack, much to his dismay, but he eventually tired of talking to himself and left me alone, so when Sookie called I felt ready to take on the world.
“Hey Eric,” she said dejectedly.
My heart dropped wondering if this would be when she told me I was just too weird and she’d changed her mind about our date; that she’d heard the rumors and now wanted nothing to do with me. I was already mourning the loss of her, even though she was never mine to begin with, and could only manage to mumble out, “Sookie?”
“Yeah, it’s me.” I knew that, not only by the caller ID, but because no other women ever called me before. No one ever called me unless it was work related and I struggled to pay attention as she said, “I have some bad news.”
I held my breath waiting for the blow to be delivered, but when I started feeling light headed and she didn’t say anything else, I asked, “Really?”
“I’m afraid so. You see, Gran called me this morning because she was having car trouble and since she knew it was my day off, she asked if I could swing by early to take her to run her errands. We only just now got back and there isn’t enough time for me to run all the way back to Shreveport to pick you up and be back in time. I’d beg off, but it’s sort of a tradition with us and I don’t want to upset her.”
I analyzed every word she said and wondered if she was just making up an excuse to get out of our date, but she shot that theory to hell when she asked, “Can I get a rain check? Tomorrow night maybe?”
My insides were back to doing a happy dance with me blurting out, “Well, I could just drive there on my own.”
I hoped I hadn’t sounded desperate, even though that was exactly how I felt. I didn’t want to wait a whole day to see her again, so I was happy when she exclaimed, “You wouldn’t mind? It’s about an hour’s drive.”
“No, I don’t mind.” And I didn’t. In fact, I couldn’t think of anything that would stop me from being with her, so I jotted down the directions she gave me off the top of her head and took off. For the hour it took me to get there I kept telling myself to be normal; act normal and everything would be fine. If I played my cards right, Sookie would still see me as a regular guy and, if all went well, she’d want to see me again.
I pulled up the pitted gravel driveway hoping I hadn’t taken a wrong turn, but I was greeted by Sookie throwing open the front door as soon as I parked my car. A smile was lit up on her face that mirrored my own and as I approached the front porch, she said, “You made it!”
“You gave great directions,” I said, still smiling like an idiot.
I couldn’t imagine ever getting tired of looking at her, but my smile faltered as I got closer and her eyes filled with lust as she whispered, “That’s not all I’m great at giving.”
My imagination ran wild and where my smile had fallen in shock, another part of my body began rising up to take its place, so I took several deep breaths trying to calm myself so I wouldn’t have to meet her grandmother with a hard on.
THAT wouldn’t be NORMAL.
Sookie chuckled seeing my face enflame, saying, “There it is…I was worried I was losing my ability to get you to blush.”
No, but I was losing my ability to keep my hands off of her.
She gestured for me to follow her inside, but I stopped short as we rounded the corner heading into the living room and saw Corbett lounging in a chair by the fireplace with a shit eating grin on his face.
Sookie turned, making me realize I’d said that out loud, but when she leaned closer to me and whispered with a smile, “Maybe later, but first we have to get through dinner with Gran,” Corbett stopped smiling.
But I didn’t…