Chapter 4 – ‘Oh’ Face

I woke up the next morning alone, with a note tucked into my hand that said, “Thanks for dinner and a movie. See you around 6:00.”

I could admit I was a little disappointed she was gone, but I hadn’t really expected Sookie to stay. Regardless of what my feelings for her were, the fact was she was with Sam. And the last thing I would want was for something to happen between us that she would later regret.

I had enough regret for the both of us.

So once I got Hunter up and fed, we worked on his homework and then spent the rest of the afternoon at the park working on his baseball skills. He really was pretty good, especially for a kid who hadn’t played much at all, and since I was in between jobs at the moment I decided I would talk to Sookie about maybe spending a few evenings with him throughout the week too now that I lived closer. We could practice after school or even just hangout, but I loved my son and now that I had the chance to spend more time with him, I didn’t want to miss out on any of his life.

But I also didn’t want to disrupt their lives any more than necessary.

After we had split up, Sookie and I managed to work out a loose visitation schedule between us and what I would pay her in child support, but since she’d given up going to school to be with me for six years, I thought it only fair to pay her what amounted to alimony. She resented it at first, seeing it as my way of trying to buy her forgiveness for what I’d done, and maybe my guilt had fueled it initially. But I also knew what she’d given up to be with me for those six years, so I didn’t want her to have to worry about money if she wanted to return to school, which she eventually did.

Now she worked as a paralegal at a small law firm in a nearby town called Monroe and she’d had nothing but good things to say about her boss, Mr. Cataliades. According to Sookie he was very understanding when it came to her being a single parent and didn’t give her a hard time if she had to leave early or come in late because of something to do with Hunter.

But now that I was living here I hoped to be able to ease her burden when it came to caring for him.

We arrived at their place a little before six and I tried to hide my grimace seeing what I suspected was Sam’s truck already parked in the driveway. But as Hunter and I got out of my car, I could hear yelling coming from inside the house.

Putting my hand on his shoulder to stop him, I said, “Wait,” and listened for a minute.

They were fighting.

And from the garbled words I could make out, I would guess it had to do with our activities from yesterday.

We hadn’t been standing there – between a rock and a hard place – for very long when the front door flew open and Sam came out onto the porch. His face was red and his breathing labored, but when he saw us he tried to act like nothing was amiss and said, “Oh, hey Hunter. Eric. Uh…when did you two get here?”

“Only a minute ago,” I replied, not sure if Hunter had been able to catch everything they’d been saying to one another.

And hoping he hadn’t.

If he did, he didn’t say anything and the dinner that followed was awkward to say the least. The tension was so thick between the two of them I didn’t know what to say or how to act. So as soon as dinner was over I made up an excuse and left after asking Sookie to give me a call later on to talk about me spending time with Hunter during the week too.

Hunter beat her to it, calling me the following afternoon and yelling into my ear, “I MADE THE TEAM!”

“That’s great buddy,” I smiled into the phone. “Did they say when practices start up?”

“Monday, Wednesday, and Friday,” he panted into the phone and quickly added, “Will you come? They’re from six to eight and mom’s home from work by five thirty, but I want you to come too.”

“Of course I’ll be there.”

Which is how I found myself back in Bon Temps at six o’clock Wednesday evening.

“Did you already get your homework done?” I asked, walking up to where he was standing next to the dugout. When Sookie had called me later on after I’d spoken to Hunter on that Monday, she’d mentioned it was the only thing she was worried about with him playing ball. So I promised her I would help tag-team-terrorize him into keeping his grades up.

We did not talk about the giant pink elephant named Sam.

She was right when she’d said I was the last person she should talk to about her relationship with him. And while I was dying to know what was going on there, I didn’t want to be the one to point out his faults to her. Not that I knew what they were, but I had a feeling if she told me about them I might possibly beat the shit out of him if she cried.

“Yes, I did my homework,” he grumbled and added, “You sound just like mom.”

“I don’t have a southern accent,” I smiled. But looking around and not seeing her, I asked, “Where is your mom?”

He shrugged his shoulders and replied, “She said she had stuff to do, so she dropped me off and said if you can’t bring me home after practice, to call her and she’d come get me.”

“Oh.” And trying to hide my disappointment, I added, “Kay,” hoping he wouldn’t catch on.

He didn’t seem to, but that was the only thing he didn’t catch. Hunter fielded every ball that came his way and ran down the ones that went over his head. I ended up sitting with another dad, Terry Bellefleur, and learned both him and his wife Arlene worked for Sam. Their son Mikey was on Hunter’s team and Terry’s cousin Andy was their coach.

I tried to act like I didn’t care about Sam one way or the other, so it was especially hard when Terry offered, “So Sam’s acting like a bullfrog at the beach now that you moved here.”

“I’m sorry?” I asked, not quite sure what he was getting at. A lot of southern colloquialisms flew right over my head.

“You’re the saltwater turnin’ his ‘lil freshwater pond brackish,” he said, only confusing me more. So he further explained, “Like he don’t know what to do. Arlene’s been givin’ him hell for months about not makin’ an honest woman of Sook, but when she stopped comin’ around as much as she used to, Arlene dropped it figurin’ they were on the outs. I doubt Sam’s been goin’ to her much since he’s always at the bar, but then we hear you’re on your way and suddenly they’re engaged.”

He stared back at me, letting those words hang in between us, so I let them hang not sure what the appropriate response was until I finally came up with, “Maybe they just kept to themselves.”

Sookie never was one to go flaunting anything and it wasn’t like she could go hanging out at his bar every night of the week when she had Hunter.

Besides, Sam managed to make it to dinner on Sunday and was still there when I left for the night, so they must be spending some time together.

Terry didn’t seem to agree because he laughed out, “You can’t take a shit in this town without everybody knowin’ about it, but I guess you could be right. Besides, Sam’s about the only good catch to be had around here, so Sook woulda been a fool to throw him back.”

It didn’t sound like the Sookie I knew, but when I really thought about it, I didn’t really know her at all anymore. I knew the Sookie who was the mother of my son, but we hadn’t just talked to talk since well before we’d broken up. Every conversation we had had to do with Hunter. When he was born our world revolved around him at first, but when I had to go back to playing ball, her world continued to revolve around him. Not that I blamed her or even saw anything wrong with it at the time, but on a subconscious level I think I’d known I missed her.

And it may have had something to do with why I’d fucked up, looking for attention where I had no business looking for it.

That didn’t excuse what I’d done, but it probably played a role in it all. I hadn’t even looked at another woman once I’d met Sookie. At least I hadn’t all the way up until I got the feeling she wasn’t really looking at me anymore.

I felt like a selfish tool for even thinking it, so I shoved it all back down into the box marked ‘Fucked up’ in my mind and only said, “As long as she’s happy. That’s all I care about.”

And if Sam made her cry I would beat the shit out of him.

I was saved from having to contemplate Sookie’s relationship with Sam even further when Hunter’s coach, Andy walked over to us at the end of practice and asked, “You’re Hunter’s dad, right?”

I’d believed Terry when he said nobody could take a shit in this town without everyone knowing about it, so I was sure he must have known who I was. But instead of taking out my Sookie/Sam frustration on my son’s new coach, I merely nodded and then I was pleasantly blindsided when he asked, “You think you’d be willing to be my assistant coach? I’m a detective here in town and sometimes I’ll be on call, so I don’t know that I’ll be able to make it to every practice or I could be called out to a crime scene in the middle of one.”

Then why did he volunteer in the first place?

But since I had nothing but time on my hands and I wanted to spend more of it with Hunter, I was happy to do it and said, “Sure.”

I doubted Bon Temps was the crime mecca of Northern Louisiana, so how many calls could he possibly have to go to?

And besides, how hard could it be?

It turned out the answer to both of those questions was a lot.

I learned that the hard way on Friday when I’d shown up to practice and found Hunter’s team running riot across the ball field and no Andy in sight. My phone beeped just as I was getting out of my car, with a text from Andy saying, “Out on a call, but I dropped off the gear at the field. Be there when I can.”

Great.

Just great.

I noticed Sookie sitting off to the side with a few of the other parents, so I waved to her and walked over to the largest group of kids, calling the strays over to join us, and said, “I’m Eric and I’m going to be your assistant coach. Coach Andy is still at work, so we’re going to get started without him.”

I started off with having them do stretching exercises, which wasn’t too bad. At least not until somebody showed up at the field with their new puppy on a leash and I lost three quarters of the team to it. It took me another fifteen minutes to get all of them back and then I paired them up to practice throwing a ball back and forth. But because there were an odd number of kids on the team, there was one kid who didn’t have a partner, so I partnered with them.

Bon Temps didn’t have a youth girls’ softball team, so the Little League was co-ed and I walked over to the shy little redhead who looked teary-eyed at not having anyone to play catch with and asked, “What’s your name?”

“Jessica.” She seemed to shrink into herself so much that if it had been possible, I wouldn’t have been surprised if she’d turned herself inside out.

“Okay Jessica,” I smiled, hoping it would put her at ease, and said, “You can practice with me.”

And seeing her lower lip wobble, I was grateful I’d had a son and not a daughter because I had a feeling I’d be toast watching any daughter of mine giving me that pitiful expression.

Burnt toast.

“I’m not very good,” she whispered, looking down at her feet.

“That’s okay,” I smiled and tilted her chin up, adding, “That’s why they call it practice. Now show me what you’ve got.”

And after seeing what she could do, I knew I had my work cut out for me.

The ball only traveled at most five feet when it left her hand and more often than not it rolled out of her fingers behind her before she even pitched her arm forward. So I showed her how to hold the ball and plant her feet, going through the motions with her a few times to get her used to it, before sending everyone out onto the field to practice fielding balls I hit to them.

Comparing them to The Bad News Bears would be considered a compliment.

I knew they were only eight and nine year olds, but the competitor in me was gnashing his teeth. So I tried to put a choke hold on him – and kept myself from ordering them all to return to the ball field over the weekend for eight hour practice sessions – waving them off at the eight o’clock hour and only said, “I’ll see you all on Monday.”

Hunter was still running around with a few of his friends, while I gathered the gear Andy had dropped off, and I was in the middle of wondering if maybe I should buy an SUV just to haul it all around in when Sookie walked over and said, “You did good today.”

“Uh huh,” I smiled at her with a raised eyebrow.

Pitiful wouldn’t even come close to describing how the practice had gone. Most of the kids hadn’t yet grasped the concept of staying at their assigned position on the field, so every time I hit a ball most of them ran in the direction it had soared towards.

The first baseman doesn’t belong in left field.

“Really,” she laughed and added, “You didn’t yell once.”

“I guess it’s a good thing you’re not telepathic,” I chuckled. “I think I came up with a few new curse words when the outfield decided picking the grass out of their cleats was more important than fielding balls.”

“It’s a good thing your first baseman is so ambitious then,” she laughed.

“Maybe I’ll switch them up on Monday and put the outfield on the bases where there’s less grass and put the infield out in their spots.”

The first baseman would probably make one hell of a center fielder.

I was dying to ask her what was up with her and Sam on Sunday, but because I was trying to be a better man, I stopped myself and only teased, “If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought Jessica was your kid with the way she throws a ball.”

“Hey,” she chided and playfully smacked my arm. “I resemble that remark.”

She did too.

But that whole ‘better man’ mantra I was trying to live up to kept me from adding how well she’d always done playing with my balls.

Barely.

But I managed to keep it in.

“But really Eric,” she said, pulling my mind back out of sexy times past, “I think it’s great that you’re doing this for Hunter.”

“I don’t mind,” I replied. “It’s not one on one time with him, but at least I get to interact with him more than I would if I was sitting on the bleachers.”

“So, doing this isn’t going to keep you from doing…whatever it is you do when you’re not here?” she asked.

“I haven’t been doing much of anything,” I admitted. “In fact, I’ve been bored out of my mind whenever he hasn’t been with me.”

And that was an epic understatement. I wasn’t used to having so much idle time on my hands because if I wasn’t actively playing ball, then I was getting ready for the next season. Now I had nothing to keep me occupied when Hunter wasn’t around.

“Oh,” she replied softly.

But sensing there was something more to it, I stopped what I was doing and turned to her asking, “What?”

“Nothing,” she shrugged.

“No,” I argued. “You’re a horrible liar Sookie and I happen to know both of your ‘Oh’ faces, so just tell me what you were thinking.”

Her eyes widened, with her skin turning pink at my truthful reminder, but she didn’t deny it and only shrugged again admitting, “I just figured you’d be out every night of the week, painting the town red now that you have so much time on your hands.”

There was something more behind her explanation, but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was. Not jealousy, but something close to it.

And not wanting to assume it was me she was jealous over, I assumed it was all of my free time she was envious of. Raising Hunter on her own hadn’t left her with much of it, so I said, “The only hotspot I’ve been to is the grocery store, but I’d be willing to get Hunter after school and keep him for a few hours during the week when he doesn’t have practice if you want to go out. And I can take him on weekends too.”

It made me wonder if she’d wanted to spend more time with Sam at his bar, but I didn’t ask and she only looked back at me with a quizzical expression before saying, “If you do that, then you’ll never have time for a social life.”

“I don’t have one to take time away from it to begin with,” I admitted.

Going to bars and clubs just wasn’t fun anymore. I’d tired of it long before I retired, but it was the only thing to do when I was still playing ball professionally and going from city to city. But now I felt like I should find something better to do with my time.

And what better way to spend it than with my son?

“Oh,” she repeated again.

And again it felt like there was more behind her ‘Oh’ face.

But before I could call her out on it again, Hunter bounded up to us and asked, “Can I get a puppy?”

“No,” Sookie answered, just as I asked, “What kind?”

And I didn’t need to be a telepath to know she wasn’t too happy with my response.

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40 comments on “Chapter 4 – ‘Oh’ Face

  1. pk22477 says:

    Great chapter. Can’t wait to see where you take this.

  2. gyllene says:

    Trouble in paradise. Is someone telling Sookie that Eric’s out all the time? Not cool. I can’t wait for more.

  3. tatie87 says:

    Eric surrounded by 8 and 9 year olds……. The imagery.

  4. Trish says:

    Aw Mom, lighten up. Boys need to have pets. What better way to learn to be responsible for someone other than yourself and to also learn what true loyalty is.
    I love this story but I will admit to sitting in pins and needles waiting for Sam to completely fuck up. Where is that stupid little doe eyed fuck up of a waitress Daphne when you need her? I would not only throw the cunt under a bus but I would also throw her at Sam. So he can fuck up. And Sookie can run to Eric. And Eric can make her all better. And I could get off of the pins and needles. Cause Sookie being with anyone who is not Eric (even if he totally fucked it up himself and deserves it) makes my eye twitch. I hate it when my eye twitches.

    Thank you again for sharing your awesomeness! Oh, and I’ll start a “save Kjwrit” fund up with the other girls for your bail money. That is not a worry you will need while you are out in the streets of NYC seeking out our most very favorite man toy. Perhaps we should just call it a “research and development” fund instead. 😉

  5. Ilive2read says:

    I live far far away from NYC, but I am willing to be your wingman on your hunt for the pretty. Eric can just keep the puppy at his house lol. Then he will think before automatically saying yes to everything Hunter asks for. I think he is working this perfectly. Just be the good guy, waiting to be forgiven for a massive mistake and waiting for Sam to royally muck it up. Although I really like the canon Sam, he should never be with Sookie….Hear Me CH…NEVER.

  6. Holly says:

    Very interesting info from Terry…. 🙂

  7. Sara says:

    This is my new favorite Eric! Love how he is trying to make things right. Can’t wait to see how Sooke kicks Sam to the curb.

  8. redjane12 says:

    One thing I love about this story is that we only see things from Eric’s POV so his somewhat gloomy take of his chances to win Sookie back are obviously tainted by his unawareness that there is a LOT of trouble in ‘paradise’… The fight Hunter and Eric nearly witnessed and Terry’s gossip (you have to love Bon Temps!) are somewhat informative but Eric still seems pretty much in the dark and unprepared to make any moves as of yet… I wonder how things will develop since Eric seems quite reluctant mainly cause he carries so much guilt… Sookie’s expectation that Eric would be partying every night were quite telling but at least she’s been disabused by the notion… Good move on Eric’s part to coach the team no matter how frustrating coaching 9 year olds may be to a former pro… I hope Sookie will kick Sam to the curve just because he’s not what she wants (and she really wants Eric back) rather than because he’s cheated on her as she already suffered that with Eric and the girl doesn’t deserve the same shit again.

  9. kleannhouse says:

    well hearing the fight was not a plus on Sam’s side, it was a plus for Eric because he knows shit is going down now and Terry just backed up what ever he might be thinking. Sam only proposed because Eric was coming home, kinda sounds like SVM Sam taking Sookie out on a date because she was dating Bill. but gotta love Terry not knowing when to shut up and given up the goods… I wonder what Sookie thinks Eric is doing besided whoring around, these two need to sit down and talk and just clear the air…. and i love their opposite responses about the puppy. KY

  10. ljhjelm says:

    I love grown up Eric. I hate that Sam would put a ring on her finger just because of Eric.
    Linda

  11. lostinspace33 says:

    Aww…I love his description of the Bad News Bears team and how sweet he was with little Jessica!

  12. story getting good. I think that Eric will make Sookie the bad guy about the dog. I wanted to know is going to put flashbacks of Sookie being pregnant with Hunter, Hunter’s birth and when Eric cheated and the fallout.

  13. itsamia71 says:

    Great chapter – I love that Eric is doing all this stuff because he enjoys spending time with his son. That’s got to be the main thing in his favour where Sookie is concerned. She needs to learn to trust him again, as it’s obvious the chemistry is still there, & he is doing all the right things, especially in not getting involved in the Sam situation. I agree with redjane12 that Sookie needs to make her own choices about Sam & Eric. They are getting to know each other all over again, just as Eric is discovering a whole new side to himself.

  14. Eric Isn’t the only one who does not know much about their ex. Sookie has been taken by surprise by the change in who Eric is. This is not the good time Charlie that she remembers. Definite trouble in paradise between Sookie & Sam.

  15. missingjasamalways says:

    I really love this fic *sigh*

  16. valady1 says:

    Kids at this age can be hysterical on the field. First year my oldest son played little league he and his best friend were put in the outfield..hopefully where they could do minimal damage. His friend’s mother and I were watching the game from the bleachers and realized they were standing out there with their backs to the diamond, throwing their gloves up the air trying to hit a butterfly. Reference my sentence about hysterical..
    I love this Eric, he is taking the right approach and not saying or doing anything to push her. And being a great dad in the process. His interaction with Jessica was adorable.

  17. Loftin says:

    Love Terry for narking sam out.

  18. Sookie says:

    Eric being surrounded by kids bad case of ovaries exploding!!!!!!

  19. twodognite says:

    Why IS Sam again? Love love love these three! And say yup to the pup!!

  20. baronessjai says:

    Love this too….everything you do is golden
    😉

  21. luvvamps says:

    Sookie has to be thinking …… Please disrupt our lives all you can. At least I hope that is what she is thinking. How could she think anything else. I love this story! Eric as a Dad. Nothing can beat that!

  22. msbuffy says:

    8 & 9 yr. old Little League? LOL! So Sam’s in the bar & Eric at’s home. Hmm, Wonder if Sam’s a dog? Eric’s being a wonderful parent. Please don’t have made little Jessica a Compton kid with verbally abusive Bill as her dad. I don’t think I could take that. Other than having Eric beat the ever-loving shit out of him at least twice, maybe 3 times. Out! And before Lala tells him, Eric better pay attention – even if it’s early yet & step up to that plate!

  23. fanficglo says:

    I gotta give Eric props, he really is becoming a better man through all his efforts. 🙂

  24. gallega97 says:

    Every chapter keeps getting better and better. Love it! Can’t wait to read more.

  25. marilyn59 says:

    Oh I Really Get Into These Human Eric/Sookie Love This Story , please Update Regular……………….Please !!!!

  26. tyesmamaw says:

    I LOVE these two I’m thinking that Sookie and Sam were cooling off until Sam found out that Eric was going to be back in the picture and that’s the only reason he proposed Sookie’s smart she’s gonna figure all of this out and I’m wondering who’s been telling Sookie lies about Eric and what he’s been doing when he doesn’t have Hunter can’t wait to read more!!!!

  27. Rayne says:

    I’m enjoying this story allot.

  28. McDoogle says:

    Dudette! realy!!? you need to do some serious slackin at work so i can get ma fix, yo! all your stories makes me happpy get to work…. nonwork… you know WTF i mean!! xoxoxox

  29. redthang914 says:

    Another Great Story, can’t wait to read more of it, hopefully soon???????? Thanks, k, appreciate your efforts on all of your stories!!!!!

  30. Minna says:

    I kinda love this Eric, a self-are, reforming jerk!

  31. hcomet61282 says:

    Adorable! Can’t wait for more. 😊

    ~S

  32. Love it! New direction for Sookie and Eric that I’ve never read, so I’m looking forward to reading where you take this….

  33. kleannhouse says:

    just re-read this story, so looking forward to more…. I want to know what is behind door number 2’s ‘Oh’ face…. KY

  34. twodognite says:

    Just re-read this, and have been loving The Debt updates, so I’d feel selfish to ask for more of this story. Really I would. So I won’t ask…..

  35. aolani08 says:

    I know I’m being ungrateful but do you plan to continue this story I’m interested in seeing where it ends

  36. hnoble73 says:

    Alright, i really like this AH fic. Might be fun reading a story about Baller Eric, trying to reclaim his family.
    Looking forward to an update!
    xx

  37. svmlover1378 says:

    Can’t wait for more. You have too many awesome stories.

  38. hartvixen123 says:

    Love it. The imagery of Eric helping little Jessica almost made me melt. Too cute. I love that he’s the assistant coach so he can spend more time with Hunter. Great chapter!

  39. gwynwyvar says:

    I know I’ve said it before. But I’m saying it again. I. love. Your. Writing!
    Your internal smutty comments are always hilarious 🙂
    Love this story

  40. seamstressff says:

    Love Eric being confused by Southern colloquialisms. Thrilled that all is not Paradise with Sam, but I’m wondering how easy it will be for Sookie to trust Eric again.

    That whole bullshit about feeling left out once a new baby comes into the family just makes me want to hit something. Because, really – how self-centered do you have to be? So it’s not enough that there’s this mewling, helpless baby in the family, now you have to multiply it by two? I just wanted to kick his ass when I read that. I think I’ll step down off my soapbox now. *clears throat*

    As someone above said, picturing Eric surrounded and interacting with 8 year olds is pretty swoon worthy, but the fact that he took some time to help out Jessica made me not want to kick his ass as hard, in retrospect. Thanks for bringing him back up in my eyes.

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