My eyes darted from Corbett to Michelle and then eventually back to Sookie wondering what in the hell was going on. Had I been wrong all along? Had this just been some elaborate mindfuck from the get go? An all new way to make fun of the freak that could see dead people? All I could guess from Sookie’s expression was that she was worried, but I had no idea about what.
Or, could Michelle really see Corbett? Was that why he thought Sookie wouldn’t freak out if she knew about me? Had she already accepted her mother’s ability, so he assumed she would accept mine? But that couldn’t be right because why would they have had Michelle put into an assisted care facility if they believed her?
Would Sookie think I was just as crazy and try to have me committed as well if I told her the truth?
And why had he never told me about his wife? He’d known all along how alone I felt in my curse. It would’ve been a relief to have had someone alive to talk to about it all, but was it because he was trying to shelter me from the truth of what would happen to me if people found out?
Like I didn’t already know?
My head was spinning with everything and it felt like time had stopped, at least for a moment, but my eyes went back to Sookie when she said softly, “Momma, you know Daddy only talks to you.”
Michelle turned back and smiled at me like she didn’t have a care in the world, saying, “Well, it was worth a shot. I figured he’d a been worked up enough seeing his baby girl finally bringing a boyfriend to meet the parents that he’d make himself be heard.”
“You can see him?” I asked more harshly than I’d intended. “Hear him?” I added incredulously.
I felt Sookie’s hand rub soothingly up and down my back and registered the sound of her sighing while Michelle nodded affably, but it was Corbett that I heard.
“She can’t.” His eyes fell lovingly to his wife at his side before going to Sookie and adding, “I’m guessing she didn’t explain everything, but if she doesn’t, I’ll tell you the next time I see you.” As if to prove his point, he walked out of the room without another word while Michelle spoke up saying he’d just asked me what my intentions were with his daughter, but her eyes didn’t move to watch him go.
How could I possibly answer that question when I had so many questions myself?
“Umm…” I began, not able to form a coherent thought from the whirlwind blowing around in my brain.
Sookie saved me by saying softly, “Momma, you and daddy need to just stop right now. Eric and I have only known each other for a week, so that question is a little early, don’tcha think?”
Had it really only been a week? It felt like I’d known Sookie for much longer, but I guessed that could be attributed to Corbett’s never ending stories about her. As Sookie and I took a seat at the table, while she and Michelle continued to catch up since their last visit, I could barely maintain the appearance that I was paying attention because my mind was still whirling.
What did all of this mean for Sookie and me?
She obviously still loved her mother regardless of her mental state, but I couldn’t compare that to our own situation. She may have liked me, but she couldn’t possibly love me and if she was okay with having her own mother committed for seeing dead people, it made sense that she’d think the same should be done with me if I ever told her. After sorting through all of my thoughts and feelings, I was left feeling nothing but dejected. I could never tell her my secret if I wanted to be in a relationship with her unless I was willing to only see her every Saturday when she came to visit her mother since I’d be living there too.
I don’t know how much time had passed, but I certainly wasn’t good company since my mind was only brought back to the present when Sookie and Michelle stood, hugging each other with Sookie saying, “I’ll try and stop by again during the week.”
I stood as well and tried to smile through my melancholy when I was again taken aback when Michelle hugged my just as tightly, saying, “You take care of my little girl and pay no mind to what her daddy has to say about it. He’d be happy if she stayed ten years old forever.” Looking back at the empty chair he’d been sitting in earlier, she added, “Isn’t that right, Doodlebug?”
Even feeling morose over the impossibility of me never being able to confide in Sookie, I wished Corbett had actually been there so I could enjoy what I was sure would be the look of horror on his face knowing I’d never let him live, as it were, down that nickname.
“I’ll do my best,” I replied, smiling at the thought of telling Doodlebug to go to hell.
After saying our goodbyes, Sookie and I returned to her car and headed out. There was an awkward silence between us, but I couldn’t do anything about it because I didn’t know what to say. She was the first woman I’d ever met that I’d allowed myself to imagine actually having a relationship with; that I actually wanted a relationship with, but I was sure a lot of that had to do with Corbett’s constant testimonials of how Sookie wouldn’t judge me for my curse; that she’d understand. Seeing for myself that she was okay with having her mother put into a mental health facility, I had no idea of how he came to that conclusion, but now that I knew better, I didn’t know what to do. I was already invested in her; in the possibility of there being an ‘us’ and didn’t want to go back to how things were before I’d met her. But, at the same time, I knew when the time came (because no matter what, the time ALWAYS came when anyone close to me figured out I was a freak) and she pushed me away, I knew it would crush me because I already felt crushed at just the thought of her walking away.
“I’m sorry.” Sookie’s soft spoken apology pulled me from my thoughts and I looked over at her, wondering what I may have missed that she would be apologizing for.
Was it because she already knew I was a freak like her mother and she was sorry we wouldn’t work out? I was certainly sorry for it…
My mouth opened, but my brain couldn’t find anything to say, so after a moment she continued on, saying, “I should’ve explained more about my mother’s condition before letting you walk in there, but you don’t know how difficult it is to find a way to say, ‘By the way, my mother sees and talks to my dead father,’ you know?”
I could only nod because I didn’t want to say that I knew all too well how hard saying that particular phrase would be to get out.
She seemed to study me for a moment before looking back at the road, admitting, “When I was eight, momma got caught up in a flash flood driving home from the store. Her car was swept out into the creek and if daddy hadn’t been on his way home to see her car go over the embankment, well…I’m sure she wouldn’t have made it. But he did see it and he dove right in after her. By the time he was able to get her out of the car, it had already been submerged for a while and she wasn’t breathing when he pulled her out. He did CPR on her for close to thirty minutes before she came back, but after that…she wasn’t quite the same. The doctors couldn’t tell if it was from the lack of oxygen to her brain or if the accident just coincided with when she would’ve shown signs of schizophrenia anyway, but momma started seeing and talking to people that no one else could see or hear. It scared us all at first, but honestly, I was just happy she was still alive. Whoever it was that she saw and spoke to seemed to keep her in good spirits and she’d tell me stories about them that were better than having any bedtime tale read to me from a book. But, Daddy and Gran were afraid, so they convinced her to take start taking meds that made her stop seeing her imaginary friends, but they killed off my fun loving and happy mother too. She was a shell of the woman she had been, even before the accident, but when daddy died, she lost it and went off of her meds.” Sookie got quiet again and didn’t say anything else until we pulled into the parking lot at the mall. She took the key out of the ignition and turned to face me, saying, “It was on the morning of the memorial service when she first saw daddy again. She’d been off of her meds for days by then; she hadn’t eaten, hardly slept, or spoken to a soul since she’d found out he’d died, but that morning she smiled and asked him what took so long for him to come home and it was that night that we decided as a family that no one would ever make her take those meds again knowing they’d take him away from her too. She’s happy so we’re happy and, who knows, maybe she really can see him.” Her eyes dropped from my mine as she admitted, “It’s because of momma that I wasn’t sure you were real when I first saw you that day; like maybe I had her quirk too.”
Quirk? I understood more about why their family seemed okay with Michelle’s condition, but hearing Sookie’s acceptance that perhaps her mother could see dead people made me ask, “If you believe that maybe your mother actually can see your father, why did you have her placed in an assisted care facility?”
Her eyes returned to mine and she smiled ruefully as she said, “Well, sometimes momma gets caught up in her conversations with daddy. She’d been cooking breakfast one morning when ‘they’ got into a heated debate over which one of them actually fell in love with the other first and the house nearly burned down. We don’t have to worry about that where she’s at and she likes it there. She said she feels like a princess because she gets to kick back and put her feet up without having to do much else. They have day trips and classes that she enjoys and nobody judges her or looks at her funny. She understands that no one else can see or hear the same people that she does, but she has friends there, both visible and invisible. She’s happy.”
I was left completely stunned. They didn’t have Michelle put away because they thought she was crazy. They moved her there so she could happily talk to her dead husband, that only I knew she couldn’t really see, so they wouldn’t have to worry about her. Sookie called it a quirk and almost seemed happy at the thought that maybe her mother did have my curse and said it as though she’d view it as a blessing if she did. I didn’t know what to say…but I should’ve said something.
Sookie seemed to shrink back into herself and huffed out a breath of air as she started the car again and began rambling, “So, I really am sorry for not telling you everything before we left and I understand if this is a deal breaker. I don’t know what in the hell I was thinking by bringing you there after we’ve only just met and we haven’t even been out on a real date yet, but I just feel so differently around you and it wasn’t fair of me to dump so much on you so soon, so I’ll just take you home and you can forget…”
She didn’t get to finish her sentence because I reached out and turned her car back off with one hand while the other pulled her head to meet mine in the middle as I silenced her with a kiss. The despair I’d been feeling had been replaced with hope once again and while I wasn’t quite ready to admit to my own ‘quirk’, I didn’t feel like it was an impossibility anymore either. I couldn’t help feeling that Sookie might actually be the one for me and I was so lost in my euphoric gratitude that I didn’t realize she was crying until I tasted her tears. I pulled back horrified, and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t think…I was just…” only to see that Sookie looked happy which only made me more confused. “What is it?”
Before then I would’ve thought Sookie would look good in anything, but I would’ve been wrong. I hated seeing tears on her face and I wiped them away as quickly as they appeared while she explained, “You seem like you’re okay…with everything? You don’t mind that my mother talks to my dead father and that I imagined you were an angel the first time I saw you and have been dreaming of you ever since?”
Sookie didn’t realize her impromptu slip up until I grinned, saying, “I’m fine with it all, but…it seems there’s more you have to tell me. You’ve been dreaming of me?”
I should’ve known better or maybe my subconscious self knew exactly what would happen when I teased her because instead of becoming bashful or embarrassed, her eyes became heated as she said, “Oohhh…yeah…” She maneuvered over the center console like it wasn’t even there, making my thoughts run to wondering what other ways her body could contort, when she was suddenly straddling my lap, asking, “Wanna act one of them out?”
Maybe I’d said it out loud. Maybe she really was a telepath and read my mind, but whichever one it was Sookie’s mouth was back on mine as her hips grinded against my own. She’d given me no script to act out her dream, so I improvised and put my hands back on her ass to help her along in her quest to make me cum in my jeans.
I could always buy more since we were at the mall.
I swore I could hear my heart pounding loudly in my chest and my hands started to trail up underneath her shirt, wondering if her heartbeats were just as loud, when she cried, “Fuck!”
My lips chased after hers as she pulled away from me and when I opened my eyes again I saw her rolling the window down and trying to calm her breathing, asking agitatedly, “Is there a problem?”
Not that I could see, but I was about to suggest moving into the backseat so we’d have a little more room when I heard through the window, “You two need to break it up or leave before I’m forced to call the police. This here’s a family establishment.”
I hadn’t noticed the security guard now standing right next to the window, but Sookie was proving herself to be quite a distraction, not that I was complaining any. She put on a mock scared face and snickered, “Oh no! Not the po-po!”
He didn’t seem to get her sarcasm because he adjusted his leather belt which was weighed down with a giant key ring on one side and a Mag light on the other, saying, “That’s right, so unless you wanna have to call your daddy to come get you at the station, you’d best straighten up.”
Sookie looked young, but certainly not that young and I frowned as she giggled while he walked away. I understood better when he got far enough away that I could finally see his face. He had to be pushing ninety years old and I rolled my eyes, grinning back at her, when she asked, “Do you think he’s got a red Bat Phone that connects to heaven so he can get a hold of my dad?”
If not, I could always pass along a message…
We were both still grinning when we peeled ourselves out of the car, but what I really wanted to do was continue making whatever her dream had been into a reality. All of my focus was on that and I wasn’t paying attention to where we were going, with Sookie pulling me along by my hand, but even if she hadn’t been, I was sure my body would have followed hers regardless.
“Two please,” I heard her say, but I was too busy imagining what she’d look like with less clothing on and wondering just how bendy she could be. My earlier theory was put to the test since she’d let go of my hand to fish around in her purse and when she started walking again, my feet followed in her footsteps with me attached to her by an invisible leash. I could see her footsteps since she’d been walking a step ahead of me and I don’t think my eyes had left her ass since we’d walked into the mall, but as the lighting dimmed I was forced to look up and saw we’d entered a movie theater.
We hadn’t really discussed what we’d be doing for our date, but I certainly didn’t care and I followed Sookie and took the seat next to hers in the back row, asking, “What are we seeing?”
The lighting dimmed a moment later and the screen lit up as she turned to me with a wicked smile, whispering, “We’re seeing how quiet we can be while we act out one of my teenage dreams starring you.”
Her lips were back on mine a second later and as I felt her hand sliding up my thigh, coming to rest on my seemingly everlasting erection, I grunted into her mouth in approval while sincerely hoping it was an action movie knowing I’d need the loud explosions to drown out what was sure to be my own explosive climax if things worked out the way I wanted them to.