I jolted awake with the vision of Sookie’s lifeless body flashing behind my eyes. I tried to shake the cobwebs from my brain as I scanned the room. My iPod was still playing quietly on the table by the bed. The doctor said it might help. The TV was off and the monitors were still beeping their incessant cadence. The only difference was the beautiful blue eyes staring back into mine.
3 Days Ago
Yeah, I was a little demanding, but the love of my life was laying in a hospital bed and I had no idea why. Sue me.
“Wait for Laf and Preston. They’re parking,” Pam put her hand gently on my wrist as I huffed back into the horrifyingly hard chair.
Jason glared at me and Pam stared at the faux finish on the wall. I replayed the events of this monumentally screwed up night in my head. I come home all excited for a night with my girl. When I can’t find her anywhere, I come to discover she moved out. And not only did she move out, but she moved out months ago.
I was flung out of my musings by the door swinging violently inward, colliding with the chair closest to it, sending said chair sailing into my knee.
“Where is he?!” the stranger’s eye darted around the room and settled on me. A sneer crossed his face and his hand clenched into a fist.
“Preston, I presume?” I heard the answering sneer in my voice, but couldn’t temper it. Or maybe I just didn’t want to.
Lafayette pushed his way into the room and placed himself in between us. “Don’t. Just don’t. It ain’t ALL his fault.”
Jason leapt to his feet and Pam placed herself between him and Jason.
“Jason! Stop. You know what he means.”
After a tremendously tense few moments, Preston and Jason shuffled to the chairs on the far side of the room and Lafayette parked himself in the chair next to me. Pam resumed her seat in the center of the makeshift circle.
I leaned forward and steepled my fingers. My eyes darted from Lafayette to Pam.
“When you opened Muses, things got really busy for you. Life got in the way. It’s not an excuse, but considering the hours you keep and the hours Sookie had…” Pam sighed. The fact that she used the past tense HAD did not escape my notice. “She got overwhelmed. She started drinking a little to cope. Then a little turned into a lot. When drinking wasn’t enough she began self medicating. Some of her old issues came out and she began dieting. You know how insecure she used to be about her body. Well, then she started cutting. Mind you, WE didn’t know anything except that she was losing weight until the end of October, right before she moved out. She hadn’t seen you for any real amount of time in months, so she asked us not to tell you. She knew you were busy and didn’t want to bother you. None of us had talked ti you in awhile, so we figured we ere doing the right thing. it was obvious to us that she needed help. We helped her move out and we’ve been trying to get her better ever since. But it’s going slow. She won’t really talk to us.”
The look Pam gave me as she spoke was of full on pity. I know my face looked pathetic. How had I not known any of this? How was it possible I didn’t notice Sookie fucking MOVED OUT? I know I slept at the bar some nights, but…
“I’m such a fucking…FUCK!” I fisted my hair and pulled.
Lafayette grabbed my hands and pried them away from my head. Good thing cause I came away with a few clumps of hair.
“How? Just…how?!? She…she…what…?!?” my rapid breathing was apparently the key to thawing Jason’s heart. At least for right now. And only a little.
“Dude, breathe. Calm down,” he moved closer and patted my shoulder. “You’re not off the hook with me. But I do see the massive misunderstanding this all is. Let’s figure this out.”
“What do we do? I-I can’t just…I need her. I love her!”
The prick in the corner scoffed and officially pushed me over my bullshit limit.
“Alright dickwad. Get the fuck out!”
“I have more of a right to be here than you! Where the fuck have you been the last 9 months? At your fucking bar. You have no idea what is going on in her life because you haven’t been there. All you’ve been doing is chasing anything in a skirt and making her miserable!”
The steady rise of his voice distracted me for a moment. When my mind replayed what he’d spat at me I jumped to my feet.
“I have NEVER cheated on Sookie! NEVER! Who the fuck are you to accuse me of something so fucking ridiculous!”
“Pft. Why don’t I believe you, asshole?” He shot to his feet and stalked closer to me.
Lafayette stood slowly and inserted himself between us once again.
“Pres, baby-you know I love you. But back your shit down. Now. I know Eric and he’d never do that to Sook,” Lafayette pointed to the abandoned chair on the other side of the room. “Now, everyone. We needs to come up with a game plan. Our Sook needs to get her fine ass back to normal. How is we gonna get this done?”
Lafayette was right. I might want to kill the douchetard in front if me right now, but my main concern is Sookie.
“Okay, so first thing to tackle would be…the weight? Or the cutting?” Pam’s voice cut through my fogged brain.
I couldn’t believe my beautiful, kind hearted, perfect Sookie had been reduced to this shell of herself. All this shit was happening to her because of me. I couldn’t help but think I don’t deserve her.
“Damn right you don’t douchebag!”
Huh, must have said that last bit out loud.
“First thing we need to do is get her talking. Obviously there were some pretty huge gaps in communication between you two,” Jason gestured to me. “She never said it, but I got the feeling that she thought you cheated on her as well. Maybe that’s where Preston got the idea from.”
Preston nodded silently. Which was a damn good decision on his part since he might’ve lost some teeth had he opened that fucking loud mouth of his.
“I don’t know where she would have gotten that idea. I know I got busy…I didn’t realize how busy, but I would NEVER cheat. Especially on Sookie! You all know how I feel about her. Jason-you should know better than anyone,” I gave him a pointed glare and his face paled.
“I forgot about that. Damn. Fuck, I was so wasted I totally forgot about that,” Jason leaned back and fisted his hands over his eyes. “Eric, I’m sorry man. Wow-I feel like a fucktard.”
Lafayette, Pam and Preston were looking between us in confusion.
“Care to fill us in, hookahs?”
“Last New Year’s Eve Eric cornered me at the party. He…he needed to ask me something,” Pam gasped as he paused.
“No…shit man, for reals?!?” Lafayette punched my shoulder.
“What? What am I missing?” Preston’s indignant pout made me twitch. However, in the interest of banding together and helping Sookie, I decided to play nicely.
“Sookie’s very old school. I wanted to get Jason’s permission to ask Sookie to marry me,” my teeth gritted together dangerously, but I managed to be polite.
“Oh shit. Fuck dude,” and suddenly I’m in his good graces. This guy was weird.
“How did the time get away from me? I had a plan. I was gonna ask at the summer solstice and…I have no idea where the last year has gone,” I gulped around the lump blocking my throat.
“You were working so hard to get Muses open by St. Patrick’s Day. She was so proud of you when you opened. Sookie had me take over Sidekicks so that she could celebrate opening night with you. She wanted to be there for you and help out that first week. But then everything started going wrong, remember? The plumbing was fucked to hell, then you had all those staffing issues, then Longshadow stole all that money…it was just one thing after another,” Pam ticked off our never ending list of problems in her fingers. I nodded, but I was still confused.
“But I don’t understand why she’d ever think I cheated? Maybe I got caught up with all the shit. Maybe I wasn’t home as often as I should have been. I own up to that. I was a shit boyfriend and I can understand that. But I have no idea where this cheating thing came from,” I must have looked pathetic because I heard a deep intake of breath from across the room.
“I may know.”