Eric looked deep in thought as he led me back into the house, hand on my lower back the entire way. He snapped out of his musings as we crossed the threshold, startling slightly before blinking at me rapidly.
“What?” I paused, hovering uncertainly in the foyer, wondering if he’d suddenly changed his mind. After all, this was an entirely unique situation and I wouldn’t blame him if he just booted me out of his house.
“I-uh, want to…come here for a minute…” He stepped back out on the porch, beckoning me to him. I followed, puzzled.
And I squeaked when he swiftly crouched down, sweeping his arm behind my knees, knocking me backwards. Thankfully his other arm was outstretched waiting to catch me since I don’t think another concussion would exactly be conducive to finishing our talk.
He beamed a smile at me as he carefully and confidently guided us into the house again and I giggled happily as I realized he was carrying me bridal style across the threshold.
“Smooth, Mr. Northman, smooth.”
“Why thank you, Mrs. Northman.” His smile got wider, showing me that he had perfectly straight teeth all the way back to his molars. I didn’t even try to fight back my own grin, stupidly happy at the simple title. We kept our eyes locked as our words sunk in. Staring into my husband’s clear blue eyes, shining just for me, I couldn’t help but to melt deeper into his arms.
Not bothering to set me down, he kicked the door shut behind him and made his way into the living room, falling back onto the couch and taking me with him. I tried to shift myself off of him, but he clung to me greedily.
“No,” he pouted, nuzzling into my neck. “Stay here. Comfy.”
I giggled again. Geez Louise, this man was turning me into some sort of silly schoolgirl. Not wanting to be separated anyway, I settled myself comfortably onto his lap and just snuggled into him. It felt so nice to just be together, even if I barely knew him. He just felt like home.
His now apparent perma-grin faltered slightly as he felt my phone vibrate roughly in my back pocket. I sighed, our happy little bubble burst.
Reaching into my jeans, I squeezed my eyes shut before gulping and looking at the caller ID. The breath whooshed out of me as I registered the identity on my screen and I pushed the green accept button.
“Hey Alc.” I quickly covered the mouthpiece and whispered to Eric. “Sorry.”
He nodded and hugged me tighter to him.
“Hey Sook. Uh-how’s it going?” The tone in his voice made my insides flutter nervously.
“I’m fine. How’s it going with you?”
Eric’s concerned face caught my eye as I shifted slightly.
“Well-uh…is your guy there?Amelia said you stayed at his place for the night. Can I say hey?” Alcide asked, clearly trying to put off whatever bad news he was certainly bringing.
I pulled the phone away from my ear and pushed the speaker button. Eric’s eyebrows shot up nearly to his hairline. “He wanted to say hi. Alc, Eric is right here. Eric, this is Alcide-one of my best friends.”
“Hey man, you treating our girl right? Cause if you’re not then I’mma hafta come down to that muggy ass state and kick some cracker ass.” Alcide’s threatening voice only made Eric smile.
“I’m doing my best. She’s a special one. We still have a lot to talk about and figure out, but…I’m kinda weirdly ecstatic about this whole thing.” I’d known he felt that way before, but hearing his vehement declaration to Alcide made my heart skip a beat.
“Good.” I could also hear the smile in Alcide’s voice. However, I could almost hear it slide right off his face with his next words. “Then hug her tight cause she’s gonna need some comfort in the next few minutes.”
We shared a look as Alcide sucked in a breath.
“What’s going on Alc? Seriously, you’re freaking me out.” I gripped Eric’s arm as he pulled me tighter to his chest. How it was possible to get closer when I was already snuggled quite securely in his arms, I have no idea. But he managed it. His other hand began slowly stroking the small strip of skin right above my jeans in the back, forcing me to relax slightly.
“Well-ya see…uh-okay, you know how our parents are meddling bastards?” I nodded silently, despite the fact that he couldn’t see me. “Yeah, well my mother-in all her douchebaggery-managed to get into my email…some stupid nanny software or something. Claimed it was because I use it on company time. Whatever. But uh-she saw our emails about you finding Eric.”
My eyes shot wide and immediately sought Eric’s calming gaze.
“Alcide? Is there more?” Eric’s deep voice asked, still rubbing his hand in light circles over my back. My breath hitched in my throat and not because I was still anxious.
“Oh yeah. So-like I said, my mom found the emails. She didn’t know where exactly you were going, but she called to ream me out since we’re still ‘on good terms’. Apparently I was supposed to abjure you or something for ‘pulling those shenanigans’ at the wedding.” I could hear the chuckle in his voice and I had to stifle my giggles. I frowned however when Eric tensed slightly.
“Wait, Alcide is the other guy? Or-uh…I’m the other guy to him?” His forehead was wrinkled adorably, even if his body was still wound tighter than a spring.
“We were engaged and supposed to be married…but neither of us really wanted to. Don’t worry, dude. There’s no other man. Just you.” Alcide’s reassurance settled him slightly and he laid his head on my shoulder.
“Okay, go ahead.” I could hear the pout in his voice and I pressed a soft kiss on his forehead. I felt the tension melt away as he nuzzled even further into my hair.
“She cornered me today at the office and demanded to know where you went. Apparently your parents are concerned….but only because they don’t know what to tell everybody in town. Nosy fuckers.” The growl was evident as he spoke. “I didn’t tell her of course. But…”
I sucked in a breath, holding it for a moment. I let it whoosh out with my next words. “But what Alcide?”
“WHAT?!? WHAT THE FUCK DID AMELIA DO NOW?!? GOD FUCKING DAMN IT COCK SUCKING SON OF A-”
Eric clamped a hand over my mouth as I tried to shoot off his lap. I struggled for a moment before I sank back into him. I squeezed my eyes shut tightly and turned, burying my head into Eric’s chest. Just his smell-that odd musky man smell-did wonders to calm me.
“Okay, Alcide. What did Amelia do now?” Eric asked calmly, though I could feel the tension buzzing through his body.
“Well, remember I said that she said that you were crashing at Eric’s? She apparently called Jason…” I groaned, knowing the rest of whatever explanation he would deliver would be just another clusterfuck.
“Let me guess, now everyone knows where we are?”
“Yup, that’d be about right. And-uh…well…your parents are-uh…coming to get you.” His rushed words did nothing to diminish the anxiety spiking through my veins.
I could hear the blood rushing through my body, roaring in my ears as I went numb. I could vaguely hear Eric calling my name and Alcide shouting through the phone. But I was numb to everything.
I registered a slight rocking motion as I contemplated what might happen when my parents found me. Nothing good, that’s for sure. And I knew that once they got here I could kiss Eric goodbye. There was absolutely no way he’d stick around once he saw the crazy I was working with. Strangely enough, I found that I wasn’t really afraid of them anymore. I was only afraid of losing Eric.
“Sookie, please-please talk to me. Come on, honey. Come back to me, come on Sook. Please-” Eric’s repetitive chant echoes in my ears as I nearly ricocheted back into consciousness, feeling a tad bit squished as Eric’s arms banded around me.
“I’m-I’m okay. What-uh-” I squeezed my eyes closed and took a breath through my nose. “Okay. Sorry Alc. When did they leave?”
“As far as I know, about three hours ago. The flight they’re probably on leaves at 11:40 tonight.” I looked at the digital clock on Eric’s TV box. God, had I really only shown up on his doorstep 12 hours ago?
“So, in about 2 hours they’ll be boarding a plane and coming here. I’m betting they’ll be at the same hotel and they’ll probably try to corner me there because of course Amelia would’ve told Jason where I was…” I dropped my head and Eric’s finger began playing through my hair once again.
“Hey, Alcide? Can we call you later? Maybe tomorrow. Sookie and I need to talk and figure out what exactly we’re going to do,” Eric asked calmly, holding my phone up in front of us as he continued to rock slightly.
“Yeah sure man. We’ll have to get together sometime and give Sookie some grief.” I could tell he was trying to lighten the mood and when Eric laughed, I was surprised to find that it’d worked.
“Good deal man. We’ll talk to you soon.” With a click of finality Alcide disconnected, leaving Eric and I alone with our thoughts once again.
“So. You wanna talk about…everything? Or focus on your parents? Or do you just wanna veg and watch a movie?”
My eyes sprang to Eric’s, and I’m sure they were nearly comically wide.
“What? You still…I mean-you’re not kicking me out? You still want to try to make this work?”
He looked at me like I’d sprouted a third tit. “Why on Earth would you think any differently?”
I sighed and snuggled back into his chest, not wanting to look him in the face when I relayed everything I needed to.
“Because after you hear everything, you may change your mind about me. I’m just afraid…that-you won’t want to have anything to do with me and all my baggage.” My voice sounded small and squeaky even to me.
“Sookie.” He said gently. When I didn’t respond or look up, he sighed and lifted my chin with his finger. “Sookie, I told you. I’ve never felt this way. There was some kind of instant connection between us that I absolutely want to explore. Did you feel it too or was it just me?”
“No, I felt it. I feel…comfortable with you. And I don’t think I can remember the last time I could truly relax around someone other than Amelia.” I snorted inelegantly. “Although I’m thinking THAT’S not going to happen any time soon again.”
Eric chuckled softly. “Yeah, I’m not her biggest fan. Despite being part of the reason we met I can’t seem to make myself like her. Sorry.”
I shrugged. Honestly, at this moment, I really couldn’t give a rat’s ass whether he liked Amelia or not, since she was most definitely on my shit list.
“Okay. You’re probably not going to like what I’m gonna tell you. You sure you wanna hear it?”
He nodded solemnly before cracking a smile. “I’m positive. And nothing you could say could make me any less enamored with you.”
A light feeling swelled in my chest at his words. Maybe this would work out after all.