“And in other news, Alex – “ Click.
“Sookie?!?! What the hell?!?!? You ever think that I may want to hear something that is not all doom and gloom on the news?”
Sighing as she arches one of her eyebrows, Sookie replies, “It would be about so and so is dating so and so. There is nothing really great about it, and it isn’t like you will ever meet them in real life. They deserve to have their own lives. Really, would you like paps following you everywhere you go, taking pictures of your grocery cart for people to play the grocery cart game?”
Hadley stares at her, and then lifts her own eyebrow at her. “How do you know of the grocery cart game?”
Sookie throws her hands up in the air, and returns to her packing. She is mentally running over the last of the items she will need.
Hadley leans back in the bed, her knee bent and her arms lying on top of it. She then leans forward and asks, “Where are you going?”
Rolling her eyes, Sookie answers again, “Sweden.”
Frowning, Hadley just shakes her head. “I know Beehl fucked you over, Sookie, but do you really need to go out of the States? What if something happens, cuz? You will have no one you know to help you out. And why somewhere so cold?”
Sighing, Sookie closes her suitcase and sits next to Hadley. “I need to get away from anything that reminds me of that asshole. The divorce is final, and because of all the time and money I spent helping him set up his company, I am actually quite well off. Thank God for good lawyers! I need to go away, to get away from all the hoopla and the three ring circus that our divorce became. I figure that in some little backwater town I can disappear. And it isn’t like there are no phones or anything. I showed you the house and everything. There is nothing that will be a hardship, and if there is, I can leave.”
Hadley has tears in her eyes. “I just don’t like you going so far away.”
Closing her eyes, Sookie is blunt, “And like living next door made any of what happened be less? Hadley, there is nothing to blame yourself for. No one knew, and I didn’t let it be known. I hid it, and probably would have continued to hide it if it weren’t for the miscarriage. That was the last straw, and I walked out of there under my own power. I am the one who filed for divorce and if it hadn’t been for him wanting to be the innocent victim in all this, no one would have known what happened.”
Hadley shakes her head. “It just isn’t right Sookie! I should have known! Jason should have, hell anyone should. And what if it happens again? Who can you turn to then?”
Sookie smiles at her cousin. “I love you, Hadley. It is not your fault. It was mine. I listened too well to Gran and her whole idea of marriage is forever and you deal with any issues yourself. She was wrong, and I worshiped her memory too long. I learned my lesson. You know me, and you damn well know I fought back, but there is a time you have to admit you need help. I hit rock bottom. I am now building myself out of that pit, and I wish to go away and leave all this hoopla to find myself.”
Hadley sighs, then moves to hug her older cousin. “Promise you will email and all that jazz?”
Hugging her younger cousin back, she says, “I pinky swear!” And she holds out her pinky finger, and with a smile her cousin hooks her own pinky finger in a promise that was the end all for the two of them.
So I have arrived in Malmö. I’m on the outskirts of the city, and it is actually very peaceful. The city itself is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. And best of all, no one knows who I am!
I needed this. I am sure I told you many times that I did, but to actually be here and not have people asking about my marriage and all that crap, well to be frank, it is a relief. A huge weight is off my shoulders that I had no idea that was there.
I ended up in a flat, but what they call a flat, we would call a penthouse. And the view of the city across the water is to die for. All in all, I am happy. I will write you back in a few days, once I am settled in.
PS: Here is a pic of the view.
Thanks for the email back, and I loved the montage of people in Bon Temps wishing me luck on my trip. It made me happy and a little homesick, but I am glad you were honest about the paps still haunting the town looking for me.
I think it is funny that no one cared about me when I lived there all this time. Before, during and after, no one cared. But now that I am so-called famous, the town is ‘missing’ me. Missing the gossip I brought is more like it.
Sorry, that sounded trite and ungrateful, but sometimes you need to look at a flower and call it a rose or a tulip. The time spent here in this country changes you. It makes me realize that a lot of the things that bothered me there were not that important.
This culture is just amazing. They place so much more importance on family that even their work hours are geared towards it. America has nothing on them.
So is Jason still dating that tramp from Hot Shot? I really wish he could settle down. But at the same time, I know he is having fun. Like I told you, Gran didn’t know everything, and I am busy learning the lesson all over again.
I am off to a bar tonight. Some of the folks here in the building have asked me to go, and quite frankly, I am wanting to be out with people. Being alone and withdrawn is not good. Bill’s ways are not the norm, and I deserve to have a life of my own.
T’is fun in the bar! These people have so much fun and I am glad to be here! Got to go! Award Winning Ass is here again and I am being challenged to a drink-a-thon! Love ya!
Let me give you a warning. Do NOT agree to drink-a-thons with any Swedes. I can handle my liquor, but what they drink is NOT liquor.
I am sorry I did not reply sooner, but I was hiding in bed with the worst hangover in the world. Luckily, one of the guys there felt bad for me, and showed up at my apartment with his home hangover remedy.
And the Award Winning Ass? Yeah. The same guy. (Cue blush) Seems he thought it was hilarious that I thought his ass was award-worthy. He told me his brother usually gets those comments, never him. He seemed surprised that I didn’t recognize him, but really, I am barely managing the language. I lucked out in a group who can speak English, and have no problem helping me out.
Anywho, I am off to do my shopping. It is something I had to get used to, not being able to go out to eat so much. But I am having a dinner party here in my flat, and I need to get out early to get to all the shops. They have stores like we do, but to get the good stuff, you have to be willing to visit places. They have markets for fresh food in the city, and butchers and so on. I will admit it tastes so much better!
See you later!
So glad to hear from you! I was worried there for the last week when I didn’t hear from you, and was ready to call you. Glad to find it was the normal Bon Temps stuff. Never seems a week can pass by in the town we call home without something weird happening.
In regards to your question, well, dating is different here. Many couples are not married, in fact a lot of the people in this country have such odd ideas compared to what we think you should do that I am lucky to fall into the group I did. They explain so much to me; I would be so hopeless without them.
With that said, it is hard to explain what dating here is. If you sleep with someone, it is thought to be steady, like ‘married’ steady. But yet they are more casual. It is so hard to explain to you without you being here and experiencing everything. But they are not tolerant of abusive behavior at all. In fact, they have the least amount of domestic abuse and so on in this country.
And yes, before you ask, I am falling for someone here. He still is questioning me not knowing him, but he has come to believe it, and often gets ribbed that only he could find someone that has no idea who he is from the Americas.
We had the talk last night, and Had, it was kinda scary. I never had anyone so angry for me. Not you, not Jason, not anyone else. If Bill had been here in the room, he would have been dead. Even then, when I saw how angry he was getting, I didn’t tell him all of it. How could I?
After pacing for a long time muttering under his breath and looking over to me, then starting the pacing all over, it took him an agonizing half an hour to settle down. When he did, he came back and just held me. After a long time (I didn’t check the time, I was content in feeling safe with him), he told me that he would never treat me like that, and that he thought I was a brave person for putting myself out there.
Then he made me promise to never go through that again.
Had… I may be falling for him.
Yeah, it is scary to be thinking that. I wish I knew why he was so shocked that I had no idea who he is or who his family is. I heard from his friends that he did a rare thing here in Sweden by moving away from his family. He was tired of being used for his family connections.
I wondered what his family could be known for, and I even asked if they were big in the gaming industry. That made them all laugh, though Eric sheepishly told me that he owned a gaming company out here. But that was something that wasn’t associated with his family before he made a name for himself.
They had a huge laugh at me, and I waved off the attempts to tell me. It really doesn’t matter. But I admit that networking is huge out here, and when I mentioned that I was the one who was the PR for Southern Gaming, Eric was shocked.
Then he and some of his friends basically interviewed me on the spot when I mentioned being bored and thinking of putting my skills on the market.
All in all, I got the job. I am applying for residency and Eric pushed through the work visa. I get to work from my home as I wanted and it just seems surreal. Viking Gaming is a huge name, and here I have been seeing the owner and CEO of it. The others I am friends with here all are close friends of his and they helped him out when he formed the company.
And get this: I own the only flat in the building that was not owned by the business. They have been trying to buy this flat for years, but the owner refused to sell to anyone in the company. No idea why, but in the long run, I won. Karma, Hads. Karma is often a bitch, but once in a while she gives you something for all the shit you’ve suffered.
For the stuff I own there, well, once we get time, Eric wants to come back to LA with me to go through it. He says he wants to see where I come from and meet you, too, since I write all these emails to you.
But, I think the real reason he wants to come, along with some of our friends, is on the off-chance they meet up with Bill.
Anywho, I am off to read through their statements and all that boring stuff. Eric mentioned that his brother is in the States, and that we may meet him when we go back. I kinda am excited to finally to meet this well-known brother of his.
This is it. As we have talked about over the last few weeks, I am waiting for Eric to get here and then we will be flying across that huge sea between us. I will be home by this time tomorrow, and I will warn you now, I will be wanting to sleep!
No worries about Eric, he will stay with me. I don’t think I need to say anything more on that.
Also, seems his brother and father will be meeting us a couple days later. I gave them the directions to the house. Well, I gave Eric the directions and Jason’s number. We both know how much I suck at giving directions.
I am looking forward to being in the US. I want to show Eric around. And you are sure that Bill won’t be there? Well, it doesn’t matter. What will be, will be.
Eric is here! See you soon!
Sookie wakes up feeling Eric’s body close to hers, and she smiles. Flying first class is the way to go for long trips, and she will never be frugal about making this trip without it again. She is happy that Eric told her with his body that there is no chance they will travel any other way.
They are together in a very small bed, and while it was a tight fit, she would rather be with him than by herself. He makes her feel safe, cherished.
“What are you thinking about, min älskare?”
She opens her eyes and meets his blue ones. His eyes are truly the windows to his soul and they show nothing but love and adoration for her.
It has taken a half a year for her to fall for him, and it has been a year that she has been in Sweden. She truly fell in love with the country, and even without Eric, she would have stayed. The culture differences are exactly what she needed to get over what had happened, and there people were not nosy. They gave their opinion and left it at that.
The road she had traveled was a lonely one, but she would do the whole thing all over so long as she landed where she is now. Eric was worth it and more.
He searches her face and sees the same love and adoration for him in her eyes that he is sure is reflected in his own. He says softly, “We are getting close to JFK. If everything is timed right, you will be meeting my brother soon. He is flying in from his filming in London, and I mentioned our route to him. He said he was going to try to adjust things, and as long as you don’t mind, he will come to stay with us early.” He watches for her reaction, worried she would think him high-handed in this.
Sookie grins and goes to sit up, and only Eric’s fast movement stops them from colliding with each other. She blanches. “Sorry! But finally getting to meet this brother that you were shocked I didn’t know about? I would love to meet him!”
He grins down to her and kisses her nose. “Then knowing you, you will wish to straighten up? It is good I woke you up early?”
She nods, and after giving him a chaste kiss, squirms out of their single bed and dashes off to the restroom as Eric grins at her. He soon has the bed converted back into his chair, and mourns the fact that he will not have her that close again until they are in her home. He gives the bed linens to the flight attendant, and sits in his chair holding a mimosa that he knows she loves.
He thinks back through the last couple of months and the pure happiness he has felt during that time. At first he had been unsure about including a new person in their group, but after meeting her that night, and seeing her let loose…it had been amazing.
Since then she has bloomed. Her spirit has been set free and Eric has been honored to have witnessed it all. The freedom, the pure love of life she has gained for herself, has been amazing to watch.
Then for them to find out why she had left her town and come half way across the world, how she basically had to get away from the publicity because her ex had dragged her through the mud, they were all enraged.
Even Alex has heard of her, and he had bluntly told Eric to be careful. It had been ugly, and something none of them could understand was why Compton was not in prison. In fact, Alex says the news on them has not died down, that Compton has been using the negative publicity to make his own name even bigger. He had also explained that someone like Sookie probably didn’t do much in the time she had been living her life under his thumb, nor once the circus started, and probably didn’t watch much news.
It had infuriated Eric to learn that what little Alex could tell him about it all was barely the tip of the iceberg. It seems Sookie that hadn’t wanted the sympathy vote, so she had only unearthed what she needed to have a defense against his attacks on her moral character. But the night she had talked to him, wanting him to know what he was dealing with if he wanted this relationship to be serious, he had been more than willing to remove that inavladekuksugare!
To find out that Sookie, his southern angel, had suffered all this had been almost too much for him. He had paced until he could control his anger, then held her in his arms to affirm to himself that she was still here, that she was safe. And then he told her in a no-nonsense voice that he will never hurt her. He had promised that no matter what, no one will ever hurt her that way again.
Since then he has spent every day proving how much he cares for her. He had laughed when they had tried to explain relationships in Sweden to her, and had made an effort to talk to Alex to find out what she expects. They spent more and more time together, Eric showing her in a thousand small ways every day how he feels about her. Luckily his angel loves to cook, and would often cook for them this ‘southern home cooking’ as she calls it.
It was different, but it was good. They all tried it, knowing that she had been game to try anything that they gave her, including alcohol. Being heavy to them, it was not something they wanted to eat very often, but it was delicious. Eric had enjoyed the last month in her kitchen. They had basically moved in together, and before this trip is over, he hopes to make it official.
On those days when he has to leave the building, he enjoys coming home to her, cooking with her, and spending their time together. When he doesn’t need to go in, he sits with her in her living room and they work together. There had been times when they never left the bed, being thrilled that laptops allowed them to work from anywhere. Those days have been heaven on earth.
He likes being here; his office is literally down the road, and they can live completely here in the complex he has slowly designed for his company. He loves the family atmosphere, and can even see raising his own children in the place.
A noise makes him look up and he smiles at the woman who just might make all those dreams come true. Finally.
They disembark from the plane and move through the crowd, Sookie directing Eric with subtle movements of her hand as he is speaking rapidly in Swedish to someone on the other end of the phone.
She is used to this, and just grins when he sighs. They make it into the terminal, and Sookie looks around, interested in the place. Last time she had hidden, not wanting the notoriety from the divorce getting her mobbed in the airport. This time she trusts Eric to help her.
Eric releases her hand to put his hand on the small of her back to guide her to an out of the way corner so he can complete the phone call. He is irritated with his secretary, and will be firing her when they return. She is jealous of Sookie, and has made his life miserable since he and Sookie got together.
Aude has nothing to base her emotions on since he has never been more than just pleasant with her, so this shit of her “forgetting” when he is with Sookie is ending. He is angry, and while he will not act when he is angry, right now he is furious and he hates that Sookie is seeing this side of him on their vacation!
He finishes his call, and then glares at his phone. He needs to call and make sure Aude realizes that her little games are over. But the sweet woman beside him is watching all the people go by as she keeps him company, and he doesn’t want her to have to hear any of this. Tossing ideas around in his head, he sighs. “Sookie.”
She looks up, her eyes so trusting of him. “I need to call Aude. She is playing games and I will not have it. I need to go up to the business center so I can look over some documents and make sure that everyone knows what is going on. Will you mind occupying yourself?”
She grins, “Hmm let’s see. Biggest airport, full of duty free shopping that I am able to do before we hit Customs, and I can browse to my heart’s content?”
He laughs, tugging her to him with his hand. He kisses the top of her head, telling her, “I will be as fast as possible. But I think that shopping with you is wonderful. Have I not made this clear?”
Her grin gets bigger. “But how would I surprise you if you are always there? Go, do what you need, and if you need help, call me. Just don’t forget that this is your vacation too, mister.” She rests her hands on her hips and he just grins at her.
“My fiery little southern lady.” With that he kisses her, then lays an affectionate hand on her cheek. With a sigh for the nonsense he is dealing with, he requests, “Buy something for me.”
She nods, then watches him leave, admiring that ass she so loves. Then she gives herself a shake and heads to the duty free shopping area.
She has been walking through the stores for the last half hour, Eric’s purchase in her carry-on already. It was red, and there wasn’t a lot of it, just what the man loves on her. Sookie is grinning at the thought as she looks through some dresses, when she hears his voice from nearby. “I think the red one would be perfect on you.”
She laughs. “You always think that red is perfect on me.”
There is a silence, then his voice holds an odd note as he asks, “Sookie?”
She looks up, and sees Eric in his blue suit, but wearing a different shirt. She frowns and asks, “I don’t remember you having that shirt. What happened, did you spill something on yours?”
He stares at her for a moment, and he slowly smiles. “Yep. Don’t you like the color?”
She frowns, then shrugs her shoulders. “Not bad. The collar is under the suit, but hold on.”
To his amusement, she walks up and drops her bags on the ground. He catches them barely in time, and she shrugs as she straightens out his collar. “It’s different. I like the light blue now that I fixed this part. But the white worked too.” She gives his suit a pat and grins up at him. “I still don’t know why you didn’t change when you got to the apartment.”
Giving her his own signature grin, he quips, “Maybe I wanted to make an impression?”
Giving him a little shake of her head, she turns back to the dresses as she says, “They will all be asleep when we arrive. Did you get Aude straightened out?”
He watches her closely as he answers, “Yep.”
From there, he follows her around the store as she looks at stuff, giving her his opinion when she asks, and when they walk out later, Sookie asks, “Is everything alright?”
He grins down at her, and looking down the hallway, he tells her, “Oh, it is going to get interesting in a few seconds.”
She looks up at him, then she hears a voice similar, no… not similar… the exact same voice, yell, “Din fula fan!”
Her eyes widen, then she looks from the man standing beside her to his double walking down to them with a huge grin on his face. The man beside her laughs and grabs him in a hug, and they pound each other’s back as they laugh.
Her eyebrow cocks up, and she folds her arms across her body as she waits for whichever man is her Eric to show themselves.
But slowly she notices the details, that her Eric is still wearing his white shirt, and it is as crisp as always. The other one’s shirt, even after her straightening, is already beginning to slip under the jacket, but there was not much else to differentiate brother from brother.
Finally they separate, and Eric holds his hand out to his Sookie and asks, “How did you two meet up?”
Sookie cuddles next to her Eric, and she tells him, “He told me to get the red dress. And then I straightened out his shirt for him. Tell me, do you plan on dressing the same?”
They both laugh. The brother tells her, “Never, but it happens all the time. Though I do admit, I have been very curious about you.”
As they speak she detects the tell she had been looking for between them. Eric has more of his accent than his brother does. Deciding to break the ice somewhat, Sookie holds out her hand. “Nice to meet you. I’m Sookie.”
“Alex.” He takes her hand and, with a bow, he kisses it.
Sookie blushes, and hugs closer to Eric. He just laughs. “Stop flirting with her.”
He looks down at her. “Are you done, min kärlek? I need to get through Customs, and then we can talk with Alex while we wait for our flight to New Orleans.” When she nods, he turns them to the left and have them heading to Customs.
Alex comes up and takes her other side, offering his arm like the gentlemen their mother had raised them to be. He grins down at her, looking her over as his eyes flip back to meet Eric’s. When he shakes his head, Alex chuckles.
Eric is happy. His brother is here, and he does approve of his lady. Not that would stop him, but he loves his brother and is thrilled that he supports his choice.
As they make their way through the lines, the three of them chat in a smattering of English and Swedish. Both brothers readily translate any of their sayings into English and enjoy teaching her as they move through the lines. When they reach the actual Customs area, they separate into their lines, but Eric notices that Alex watches over her as much as he does.
Watching his brother’s woman, Alex sighs internally. He wishes nothing more than to have met the woman first himself. She truly has no idea who he is, and he loves that. So many women want him for who they think he is, or have tried to go through his brother to get to him. He has given up on finding someone for himself, much as he knows his brother had. And to find a woman that they both are attracted to, well, it made him feel bad for himself.
However, he is fully prepared to help his brother hide a body if need be when they go to her home. It is one of the reasons he has worked so hard to make this trip. Also, he has missed his brother with the brutal schedule he has been working for the last couple of years, particularly the last six months.
He remembers watching the divorce. It had been on in one of the screen rooms when he was getting a touch up on his make-up, and she had caught his attention. He had watched the proceedings as had the rest of the world, and he had often fisted his hands when he realized that this man was making her drag out all their dirty underthings for the world to see, but he noticed she never went a step further than the man did. She made sure she countered his attacks, but never tried to make the jury sorry for her.
He had admired her admitting her own fault in the proceedings, that she had stayed with him of her own free will, but that she realized that the rules she had been taught as she was growing up were wrong. She was no doormat, but it had taken her a while to see this truth.
The fact that she admitted this to the world had helped many women who were stuck in the same type of relationship, under the same thoughts, to know the difference. She had admitted it on the stand, and what thoughts she had. She made it clear that she only wanted her fair share, no more, no less. She had provided the start up for the company, and instead of paying her back, he gave her shares that made her a partner. Then there was all the pro bono time she had spent providing PR when she was in school, and only afterwards was she given a place in the company, but under her hands the PR for the company had brought it to the heights it had today.
Alex had always kept an eye on the gaming industry for his brother. He had invested in the company, but not in a way that it would it show up under his name. He has no doubt his brother knows it, but he didn’t want his fans to know about it. He believes in Eric and is very proud of his work.
When Eric called him about Sookie, he had been surprised, but jealous. It had been announced in the media that she had fled the country to avoid the pressure, but he had read between the lines and knew she had left to get her life together. He admired her for it.
When he found out she had landed in the same building that his brother had been steadily acquiring as a complex for his company, he had been shocked. But he had answered every one of Eric’s questions. Alex would do nothing less. He had told him frankly about the circus in the States, and how it hadn’t died down because her ex was taking it for all the spin he could get.
His turn came up for Customs, and he waited for the questions, and then he signed the autographs requested of him as usual. When asked if he wanted to have a private room, he looked across to Eric and lifted his eyebrow. When Eric nodded, he told them he was traveling with his broder and his woman. They looked them up, and when they noted the names, Alex walked to the side and waited. This is something he has had to do since his role became such a huge one on the vampire show. He is enjoying his filming in London, but he also remembers a time when he could travel through the airport without the need for special rooms to get away from fans.
When Sookie is finished, Eric guides her with a hand on her back to Alex, and when they meet back up, Alex tells them, “This way.”
Sookie is confused, but she follows the brothers, and they walk with a guide through some hallways and enter a comfortable room. She looks around even more befuddled.
Eric chuckles and escorts her to the side. Alex drops her bags off by the chair he sits down in, then rests his head back on the cushion.
Laughing at him, Eric explains to Sookie, “Alex is having a slight issue with traveling through airports anymore. Seems his fans have made him miss flights since he is too nice to tell them he has got to go.”
She looks between the two and finally asks, “Ok. Enough. Who is he and why is he being attacked by fans?”
Not able to help the belly laugh, Eric collapses next to his love, and waives at Alex to explain.
With a sigh, Alex lifts his head to tell her the story. “Our father is an actor. And recently, while he has acted and his name is quite well known in Sweden and Europe, he broke into the American market. I followed in his footsteps for a while, then rejected it to school with Eric here. We ended up in the military, and then I wanted to act again, while Eric was interested in Architecture and Programming. He ended up being an overachiever and got both degrees. The rest is history. He went into making games, and as you know owns one of the largest gaming companies in Sweden.”
Sookie nods, knowing Eric’s history quite well.
Alex waives his hand. “I on the other hand worked to be an actor, and for a while I was in many indies, but nothing to get my name out there. Then I did this series on war in the Middle East, and my name came up for a new show about vampires. I interviewed for it, and got the part. And it seems to have gained me some wonderful fans.”
Eric laughs again, holding Sookie next to him.
Alex rolls his eyes. “Yeah, yeah. The downfall of all this is that I became stalked. And it has gotten only worse as time goes by. I love my fans, I really do. It is because of them I am making it, but they have no respect for me when I am trying to make flights or meetings. And dating? Well, you can just imagine it. Even some of my coworkers that I am close to have received death threats. All in all, it’s insane. And it is insane not only for me, but for my family, too.”
Sookie is just staring at him, then looks up at Eric. “This is why you were so sure that I would know who you are?”
He nods, grinning down at her. “I had no idea how bad your life was. In fact, Alex here still has no idea though he was the one to tell me about the circus that was your divorce.”
Alex’s eyebrow lifts as he leans forward. “I know you told me it was bad, but how bad was bad? I know the divorce was nasty, but I suspected even then that you only gave out enough information to counter the absurd claims he made against you.”
Sookie blushes and hides in Eric as she tells him softly, “Bad. And yes, I wanted it to go away. I was the idiot who stuck with him so long and I paid my punishment for it. I wanted it gone, and he made it impossible for me to be in the States without being mobbed.”
His hands clench as he looks at his brother, his twin. Eric stares back at him, them doing their sibling communication thing. Alex mutters under his voice, “Sug en grodkuk!”
Sookie cannot help but laugh at that one. It was a favorite expression of Eric’s and seems his twin has the same one.
“Whoever came up with ‘frogdick’ needs a Nobel peace prize. And yes, that describes him well.”
They all snigger then Alex tells them both, “I have the entire time I’m here free. So, if you are unavailable, I will escort her anywhere. She is family after all.”
Sookie’s eyes soften, but she tells him, “I am able to handle it myself, but thanks.”
Leaning back in the seat, Alex waives it off. “Doesn’t matter. You should know this well, Sookie. We Swedes take care of our family. And you are family. Though if my brother fucks up, let me know. I will be more than happy to kick his ass, then I will hope you will give me a chance.” He grins at her.
Rolling her eyes, Sookie laughs at them, and soon they are all talking about what is going on at home for them. Alex tells Eric that he finally has the flat he had wanted in the complex, and he will be setting it up as a permanent home there. He wants to be close to his brother.
They talk in the room, with Alex sending out for food for them, and when it comes time to board, the three are once again escorted through the airport and they are the last to board the plane.
Unknown to them, though, the rumors have already started. On Entertainment Tonight there is footage of Eric and Sookie, only Eric is mistaken for his brother Alex. A certain dark haired man is watching as his current interest sucks on his cock. “Welcome back, you slut. I will soon have you back where you belong.” Then he shoves the woman down on his cock, thinking of his wife the entire time.
When they arrive in New Orleans, they receive the same treatment to get out, being told that the rumors have started and that there is a large crowd waiting for them outside the security checkpoint. So they are whisked away through the airport, and soon are in the SUV that Eric had rented for them, and are quickly on their way to Bon Temps.
Alex chuckles as he recognizes the name from his filming and thinks about how odd it is that it was real, and that their dream woman is from there. But he shrugs it off, and chats quietly with his brother as they drive carefully to avoid waking the beauty sleeping in the back.
“So what are your plans if the frogdick comes around?”
Eric’s eyes flick back to check on Sookie and he answers, “Make sure he gets the idea she isn’t interested in seeing that asshole. She comes first, Alex.”
Nodding his head, Alex admits, “Oh I know that. I don’t blame you. If I had found her, I would be the same way. Instead, I am glad that one of us found her. I admired her greatly for putting up with that piece of shit for as long as she did, and for admitting she did wrong. She didn’t do the ‘woe betide me’ routine nor anything like that.” He shrugs.
Eric looks at his brother. “Is this going to be an issue?”
Lifting his eyebrow at him, Alex is honest. “Nope. But I will not deny being attracted to her. I saw her in that shop and was smitten right away. When she answered me, I couldn’t believe it, but then I realized that she was indeed the same Sookie you had been bugging me about. But for a second there I thought I had a chance, that maybe she was a look-alike. However, she is perfect for you. I would drive her nuts in a few days. No worries on that part.”
Sighing slightly in relief, Eric tells him frankly, “I love her.”
Alex turns to stare at him, and softly tells him, “I know. And she loves you. I would never do anything to hamper that. But you can’t blame me if I dream of ‘what could have been’s.”
Eric shakes his head. “Cause I would have done the same thing.”
That matter settled, the two men go back discussing their family and events for the past year since they last saw each other, both mindful of the precious treasure in the back seat.
Alex chuckles as they follow the directions to the home that Sookie had lived in for most of her life. “She was right about how bad her directions are.”
Eric grins. “Oh, I knew already. I called Jason as soon as she gave me his number to get the right ones. She couldn’t guide you out of the building. However, when you look back at the directions, she gave you the right ones. No idea how she does it, though.”
They chuckle, then turn into the drive. Eric is still laughing as he remembers her telling him about the fight she and her Gran had about her repairing the entire house when she had first earned enough money. He then snarls slightly when he remembers that Compton had demanded that the driveway be repaired for his precious BMW.
Alex pats his shoulder as Eric parks. He has no idea what made his broder go from happy to pissed, but suspects the ex has something to do with it. He heads to the back to grab their bags, pleased that Sookie and Eric had managed only large piece of luggage each.
He closes the rear door quietly and then shuts the door from where Eric had just pulled Sookie out of the vehicle. His brother has her in his arms as he carries her to the stairs, telling Alex. “Nyckeln ligger i sidofickan på vår attbedriva.” (The key is in the side pocket of our carryon.)
Grabbing the key, Alex opens the door for Eric, and then follows him as he heads down the hallway. He opens the door that Eric indicates, revealing a bedroom decorated in white lace. He drops off the bags, then moves to the bed to turn down the blankets for his brother. Watching them fondly, he sees Eric slip off her shoes, then slide her into the covers.
The two leave the room after Eric sweeps it with his eyes.
As they exit the bedroom, a sound of the click of a gun has them both stopping with their hands up in the air.
“Step carefully into the light. I have my cuz on speed dial and with a simple push of a button he and all of the Bon Temps police department will be here.”
Eric chuckles softly as he moves into the light. He greets the woman, “Hello Hadley. Nice to meet you in person.”
The petite blonde cusses. “Eric?!?! What the hell! I thought you were going to call!”
Alex watches in amusement as the woman puts the safety back on, puts the gun down and then hugs his brother in a fluid motion. “What is it with you and southern ladies? You’ve already got one.”
The two chuckle as Hadley backs away, then she freezes. “Oh hell! Does Sookie know there are two of you?”
The three are laughing in the kitchen when Sookie makes her way to the room. She leans against the wall and watches her love chatting with his brother and her cousin. A small smile forms on her face as she realizes that they are all being friendly, something Bill had never been with her ‘hick cousin’ as he called her.
Hadley is nowhere near a hick. She has a college degree and works from home. But because she prefers her southern roots, Bill had never seen her as anything other than that.
She is a writer, and Sookie is one of many who work with her. She handles her PR with her publishing company, and if Sookie says no to something, Hadley never questions it. Many people would know her if she would ever show up for her signings, but she prefers to just write. If people don’t want to buy her books, well, she isn’t going to force them.
Now she is thrilled that Bill had discounted her family so much since none of them were thrust into the spotlight as she had been. If he had known, he would have dragged each and every one of them to the stand and spilled their secrets out to the world.
But now, she is seeing her cousin laughing with the man she loves along with his brother.
Eric is the one who notices her first, as usual, and he pats his knee in invitation to her. She smiles and walks over, curls up in his lap, and he kisses her head as he holds her to him.
Hadley watches them, grinning, and shakes her head. “Sooks, we need to talk about these new fangled inventions called cameras. It was not until either of us met the other that we realized that we had never even seen the other one. How could you deny me the chance to feast my eyes on this man?”
Sookie chuckled. “And what part of that do you think I didn’t think of?”
Had rolls her eyes and tells her, “I wouldn’t have wanted to steal, well, not much. But it would have saved me some shocks when I had them in the hallway under my shotgun.”
Sookie chokes out, “Hadley!”
She shrugs. “No biggie. Eric forgot to call on the way.”
Sookie turns her head to the side and then in a very deadly voice, “Hadley Stackhouse!”
Hadley looks sheepish. “Yes, Sookie?”
“Oh no, you don’t. Why the hell did you have a shotgun ready to fire anyway?”
Hadley ducks her head, and licks her lips, biting down on her bottom lip. When she glances up and sees Sookie glaring at her, she sighs. “Ok. So, things here have not been all sunshine and roses. Asshole has been harassing me, trying to find out where you were. I got one of those restraining orders against him for the house and for you. And then there are the reporters and so on.” She holds up her hand to stop her cousin’s tirade. “But none of that matters. You were safe, happy, and making a life for yourself. I was thrilled to read your emails, and knowing how you were healing, I made the decision to not tell you. Only you, though. I learned your lesson and I crowed from the rooftop about the harassment to all who would listen.”
Sookie groans and leans heavily into Eric’s arms. He holds her close and asks Hadley, “And you didn’t think to warn us before we came here?”
Hadley looked sheepish. “I didn’t think they would bother you. How would they know you were even in the country? How was I to know you were the twin of Alexander Skarsgard?”
Frowning, Sookie looks up from Eric’s chest. “What you mean, Had?”
Alex has been quietly listening, but now he leans forward with his hands folded on the table. “What she means is that once we got in, we found out why there was a huge crowd waiting for us. Seems Entertainment Tonight decided to air that the two of us were chummy in the airport. But the problem is they have Eric and you in the picture. I’ve never mentioned being a twin, and Eric is often not in pics with the family. He has been busy with his company when I get home. I usually go to him to visit.”
“Oh my stars! The-they think it was us!”
Alex nods sadly. “I am so sorry, Sookie. But this is actually easy to solve. A single press meeting with the three of us will obviously clear up any mistakes.”
Eric sighs. “But this will mean the end of our quiet life. The rest of the family can tell you how invasive the paps will be in our lives.”
Sookie thinks about it, then she moves out of Eric’s arms and heads to the porch. When Eric realizes that she was going out by herself, he goes to get up. Hadley puts her hand on his arm and tells him softly, “Let her go. If she is not back in a half an hour, I will go after her. She is just heading to her thinking spot.”
Alex says softly, “And those that you were afraid of?”
She sighs as she looks out the door to where her cousin headed. “If they can find that spot, they deserve everything she will unleash on them.”
Sookie is sitting still in the tree, staring down at the pond as she tries to think of what to do. Nothing seems to work. If she doesn’t say anything, what if Alex finds the right woman? They would have to come out anyway.
If she comes out now, she will live with the paps on an even bigger scale than the one that made her run away from her childhood home in the first place.
And she admits it; she did run away. She couldn’t handle it anymore, so she fled. Was it the best thing she could have done? Yes.
Not just because of meeting Eric, either. No. As Had and she had discussed, Sookie had healed in many ways before Eric ever appeared in her life. She had been ashamed of flinching if a hand was raised above a certain level. No one knows, not even Eric, how bad it had really been.
The level of abuse was amazing. He did everything but chain her. She realized at the end when she was looking at her necklaces that they were mostly chokers – glorified collars. And she had allowed him to put them on her.
It wasn’t until Eric had made love to her that she realized that sex could be pleasurable. She had been taught that sex was to please the man. Imagine her surprise when she found that a man could give pleasure to a woman! That had been a shocking revelation to her.
And all it did was make her ashamed that she had never questioned the things she was taught when she was growing up. With how she was raised, her Gran may as well have sold her to Bill. Gran had even told her that Bill was the best she could do!
Not that Gran was evil; she just didn’t know how to raise a lady for these times. She had fallen back on her youth and raised her granddaughter the same way she had been raised. But the problem with that was that Sookie was not a ’50’s housewife. Times had changed.
Now she was back, and Hadley was telling her that Bill had been harassing her. Hadley had no idea how vicious Bill could be because Sookie hadn’t told her. If Hadley had been harmed, it would have been Sookie’s fault. And who knows how he is treating anyone now.
No. She needs to pull up her big girl panties and stop hiding. There is nothing left to say in her defense. And with that knowledge, tears roll down her face.
Eric refused to wait inside any longer, so Hadley had walked outside with him. He hadn’t liked that Sookie had left – it wasn’t normal for the woman he knew and loved, but from the comments made earlier, it was normal for the Sookie who had left here.
Hadley had talked to Eric and Alex both, telling them more about the way Sookie had been raised. Hadley’s own mother had been abused, and following her mother’s teachings, had never reported it. She had lived with the abuse, but had taught her daughter differently. By the time Hadley had been given over to her Gran to raise, she had known better. She had gladly taken her mother’s maiden name to rid herself of the hated name of her father.
She had not realized that Gran had pulled the same thing on Sookie, and since her cousin had no one else to look up to, she had fallen for it hook, line, and sinker.
No one had known. Not Jason, who had been raised with her, nor Hadley. By the time Hadley had come into the family, the damage was done. Sookie was ripe for Bill to take and abuse.
Hadley stared out the door as she recounted the night when Sookie had first arrived. The house was Sookie’s, but she had tried to give it to Hadley many times. Hadley had refused, however, knowing that her cousin might need somewhere to come to hide at some point. She and Jason had seen signs, but neither could get Sookie to admit to what had been happening.
Eric and Alex had clenched their fists, hating that one woman had ruined so many lives, but she had done it in love. She had no other idea about what to do, so she taught what she had been taught. Luckily for her, Earl Stackhouse had been a loving soul and treated her like a princess. Unfortunately for her daughter and granddaughter, they had found the monsters.
After the discussion wound down some and while Hadley and Eric went in search of Sookie, Alex called his publicist to tell her about what had happened and to discuss what options they had. She was very aware of Eric. He was trying to figure out how to roll this all out and do the least amount of damage. He also cursed his brother and his habit of wearing the same clothing. No matter if they spoke or not, they still often found themselves living the ‘twin clothing’ cliché.
Hadley and Eric move quietly through the trees, and Hadley tells him, “She is going to blame herself, you know. She always does.”
Eric nods. He has seen her tendency to do that. “I will talk with her. What I don’t understand is the running.”
Hadley chuckles. “She doesn’t do it often, and then tears herself up about it afterwards. She doesn’t understand that people need to back away from issues to understand them better. And sometimes running away is the only way to deal with it. Would she have healed the way she did if she had stuck around? Maybe. But nowhere near the way she did. She needed Sweden, and she needed you.”
Eric looks down at her, and smiles. “You are so much like her.”
She grins up at him. “Thanks! I admire the shit outta her. She has had everything against her, and through it all, she rises to the top. She gets kicked to the bottom of the pit, and climbs her way to the top again. Those who said that the path to the top runs through hell described her life. Nothing has been easy for her.”
He nods his head, his mind busy with the information he has received. He reaches out and stops Hadley. “Why does she blame herself? What happened that makes her think it is all her fault? Somewhere she had to have gotten the idea that she is to be blamed for all of it.”
Hadley sighs as tells him, “Her parents dying. They had a huge fight. Sookie was never a troubled child, as in throwing fits and so on. No, she was intelligent. Highly intelligent. And anyone who thinks that would be a wonderful child to have never had one. There are all new sorts of challenges with a child that intelligent. They catch on to things that no one even dreams of. They talk earlier, they walk earlier, and so forth. But they also form opinions, and learn how to use others for their gain. They don’t have the morals that children gain as they grow. So they play others off each other.”
She runs her hand through her blonde hair. “Sookie was considered genius level. She did things an exceptional five-year-old year could at two. My aunt hated her. My uncle adored her. He worked obscene hours to provide for her to go to special schools, to give her what he could. Michele, she couldn’t stand that he would do this for his daughter, but for her to have a new dress would cause a fight. She was selfish. And Uncle Corbin saw that Sookie was picking up on it. So that day they had gone out of town, and left Sookie and Jason with Gran. They died on the way back.”
She looks up at him with tears in her eyes. “Uncle Corbin had declared an ultimatum with Michele, telling her to straighten up or get out. He was not going to have her raise his angel to be selfish like she was. Her teachers had told him the results of this and unlike when they had told Michele, he listened. He had called and talked to Gran and told her about it. She had been angry at him for basically not working it out with his wife, for giving up on her. But Uncle Corbin told her that his children were more important than his wife.”
Eric sighs and looks above her head. “And Sookie over heard the conversation.”
Hadley nods slowly. “And even if she hadn’t, Gran made no mistake that she thought it was Sookie’s fault for being a brat.”
He runs his hands through his hair.
Hadley steps closer to him. “Eric, she knows this. She handles things normally, except when she thinks she needs to be punished to learn something. You treat her like a princess, and that will make it all right. She will love you until you push her away, and I mean you would have to do it hard and make it plain that you don’t want her. Unless she thinks it’s for the best to leave you. It won’t be roses and wine, but if you love her, it will be worth it.”
He smiles down at his love’s cousin and tells her, “You are nothing like Bill told Sookie.”
She chuckles. “I know. And I love Sookie for protecting me. She just needs to see that others can protect her the same as she protects them. Now let’s save her from the hell she is currently in if I know my cousin.”
He nods and, holding his hand out for Hadley, he walks beside her to find his Sookie. Coming to her home where her life fell apart was letting him see her truly, and he loves every part of her.
Soon they can hear quiet sobs, and without saying a thing Eric is gone from her side, leaping into the tree where can hear Sookie crying. Hadley smiles, and then turns to head back to the house.
Eric gathers Sookie in his arms as she weeps. He murmurs to her words of his love as he comforts her.
She cries into his shirt, his jacket left at the house in the warm Louisiana weather. He closes his eyes, feeling the pain of any man unable to take away the tears of the woman he loves. But he does what he can, by being here for her.
When she calms down, he sits there waiting for her, giving her the time to think, to talk to him.
She finally tells him, “If she had been hurt, it would have been my fault.”
He blinks then asks, “If who had been hurt, and how would it have been your fault?”
He thinks through it, and putting together pieces of the puzzle, he asks, “If Bill would have hurt her?”
She nods her head where it was still buried in his chest. He sighs. “Sookie. How would it been your fault, min kärlek? Explain to me how you saving yourself is to be blamed?”
She shudders in his arms, and then explains her earlier reasoning to him. He listens to all of it, asking questions to make sure he understands. Finally he asks, “So you think that because you didn’t tell her what you couldn’t say at the time, if she got hurt it would have been your fault?”
He shakes his head. “There is no blame to this. You escaped from an abusive relationship. And I think you do need to talk to Hadley. She talked to me, to get me to understand. She understands way more than you think, and so does your brother. But let’s get back to the farmhouse, and see if we can sleep. Alex is on his phone, and nothing will be done until tomorrow even if we had the perfect solution handed to us. We are all exhausted.”
Sookie just looks up at him and frowns. “You still want to be here?”
He smiles. “Sookie, don’t you understand? I love you. That is not an ‘I think I love you when everything is perfect but when there is a problem I don’t’ thing. You will never be alone. You never have to travel down the road alone anymore. And it is not like I am perfect. You know this. I get angry easily. I often have to leave to go run or go down to the gym to hit the boxing bag. I am not perfect, and to be frank, I am glad you are not perfect either. It would have been a lonely life to walk beside you if you had nothing wrong.”
Sookie has tears falling down her face, but she tells him, “Well, there are no worries about that.”
He nods, kissing her cheeks. “Thank God you have more wrong than not knowing how to cook fish.”
She laughs. And with that he works to climb down from the tree, complaining that his height made it harder to get down than hers. But he descends first, and helps her down the last bit. He looks around at their surroundings. “I can see why you like this. How about I make one for us in the complex? There is a corner in the park area I showed you where this would be possible.”
He takes her hand and starts to lead her back to the house.
Thinking over what he said she shakes her head. “Why are you so set on making a complex on the outside of the city? It’s not really that far away from the city, nor is it too far from the forests.”
He smiles down at her and says, “I want a place our kids can run around being kids. I want to know our neighbors and be able to tell a stranger from others. The cities are nowhere as bad as in the States, but there have been long talks about this very concept being our future. It will go back to the village idea, and that has been the healthiest for people.”
She shakes her head, “But what if they don’t want to work in the company anymore? Will you kick them out?”
He shakes his head. “No. It just happens that I am using the company to make this. I will never make it that way. If I did then Alex couldn’t live there nor could the rest of my family. And I will never force my kids to take over from me. I am just lucky that my friends work at my company and they are the reason I am doing this.”
She nods then tells him, “You are a good person, Eric Skarsgard.”
He pulls her closer. “You make me this way. I want to be better for you. I may have planned this all out, but you make me willing to do whatever it takes to do it. I love you, Sookie Stackhouse.”
Sookie tells him, “I love you, too.”
When they return to the house, Jason is already there drinking tea with Alex and Hadley. When he sees her, he jumps up to hug his sister. He pulls back to look at her, then sighs. “Hell, Sook. Stop blaming yourself! Hadley knows the fucker is insane. She ain’t been taking any chances. Now that you’re here, I’m setting the alarm, and we can all go to sleep. I’m camping out in my old room, and Alex here can have the guest room. Now, shoo and get ready for bed. Got it?”
She nods, then heads off. Eric raises an eyebrow at Jason who rubs the back of his head. “I’ll pay for it tomorrow, but right now, she’s down on herself. She needs to sleep. So do the rest of us. So go help her to sleep, just don’t be too loud. I’m her brother and I don’t need to hear that my sister is not a virgin.”
Hadley laughs and punches his arm as she passes him. “Go on, Jason. It’s not like we haven’t heard you in your bedroom. It’s not like there’s the best insulation in this house.”
They laugh, then Alex bows to Hadley. “My lady, would you allow me to escort you to your room?”
She curtseys, and tells him, “I would be glad to.” Then as she passes Jason, she slaps him on the back of his head. “This is what a gentleman does for a lady. Learn it!”
Jason grins at her as she walks up the stairs. “When I meet a lady, I know what to do!”
He laughs at her noise and goes to set the alarm, happy to have a full house, though he is worried for his sister. This is not the homecoming he had wanted for her.
The next morning Sookie wakes to find Eric holding her as he sleeps. She opens her eyes and watches him, her mind being busy.
Eric sighs and holds her closer as he tells her, “Stop thinking.”
When she opens her mouth, he kisses her. When he lifts his head, he tells her again, “Stop thinking. If I need to, I will tell it to you in every language I know until you stop.”
She laughs, and he smiles as he watches her. “Good. Now let’s head to the kitchen and get something to eat while we figure out what to do. This is a partnership. This is what you wanted when we got together. So this is the first speed hump, and we will deal with it together.”
“Don’t you mean speed bump?”
He shakes his head. “Nope, speed hump sounds about right. The type that makes you wreck your car if you go over it too fast.”
She chuckles, and climbs out of bed, stretching. He moans and falls back on the bed. “Not fair.”
Laughing at him, she tells him, “You know we’re in the only room that has a bathroom attached, right?”
Lifting an arm, an eye peeks out at her. “And…”
She edges away. “And there is a shower…”
He blinks, then is off the bed as she squeals and tries to run into the bathroom before him. He laughs and, catching her up in his arms, moves right into the bathroom, kissing her, and only setting her down to continue the kiss as he backs her into the wall. Her arms come around his neck holding him closer.
He moans, loving the taste of her as his hands get busy shedding her clothes. He loves that her nightshirts are old dress and flannel shirts of his. So not only does he get to see his clothing on her every night, but it makes it easy for him to remove the clothing without ever having to give up her mouth, which he has admitted is one of the most talented he ever has kissed.
He soon has her undressed and the only break he gives her is when she turns on the water, and even then he finishes stripping the two of them. They have both made this into an art form. Shower sex for some reason is one of those perks that they both love that come with staying the night.
Some couples may do breakfast in bed and other things, but Eric loves their version of the ‘morning after’ ritual. It always leads the two of them to getting dirtier in the shower, but how they do it makes it one of the most enjoyable ways to get dirty.
The two of them stumble into the shower, a jumble of hands and mouths moving everywhere. He just chuckles when she palms what she calls his best asset. He grabs hers, bringing it in contact with the part of him that loves to please her the most. When she arches into his body, he tugs one leg over his hip, checking her to make sure she is ready for him.
When he feels the moisture that is literally dripping from her, he chuckles. “Always so ready for me, lover.”
With a move that shows how many times they have done this, Eric soon has her impaled on his cock as he has her lifted and resting on the shower back. The water from the showerhead hits his face, and they both chuckle as he moves closer to her than normal just to get out of the spray.
She laughs as his disgruntled expression, knowing that he normally loves to watch his cock being swallowed by her pussy, and had even had a mirror installed for her to watch the show in her shower. That had been one of those giggle-fests where she couldn’t stop laughing as she had imitated the voices of the workmen as they installed it. Or rather, what she had imagined them to be saying.
However, just like then, she is quickly forgetting the reason for laughing as Eric works to make her think of only him as he strives to please them both. He never gets off before her, no matter what. He doesn’t even like her going down on him without him having pleased her first since, according to him, a true lover will never allow his lady to pleasure him before he has satisfied her. In fact, their first couple of times together had been spent with him getting her off, and not doing anything to help his not-so-little problem.
Soon even those thoughts are gone as Eric thrusts into her quickly, pulling out slowly, and repeating until done. In this position he can’t reach her clit to help her get off, but his pelvic bone hits it, and he quickly has her tightening up as he slams into her hoping to get her off so he can release. When he feels that familiar tingle right as her walls clamp down on his cock, he thrusts hard into her, his forehead resting against hers as he grits his teeth to keep from shouting as his pleasure pours through him.
He rests against her, allowing his weight to keep them both up as they pant for the air that they need from the workout they just had. Once he can, he leans in and kisses her lovingly. When he allows her up for air, he smiles and tells her the same thing as always, “Thank you, pretty girl.”
She chuckles. “You don’t have to thank me every time. Making love with you is not even close to a hardship.”
He Eskimo-kisses her nose, telling her, “And like I tell you each time, it is a gift you give me each and every time. It would be rude not to be thankful for it, lover.”
She looks up into his impossibly blue eyes that remind her of the water right outside her windows and then asks softly, “What would you think of making this permanent?”
His breath catches, and he asks, “Are you sure, Sookie? You would have to put up with my bad habits of leaving the towel wherever I throw it, and leaving the seat up.”
Grinning at him, she fingers the little hairs on his neck as she replies, “And of my habit of cleaning up every night, making sure the house is perfect for when I get up. Are you sure you can deal with it? And my abysmal attempts at cooking fish?”
He grins and takes her mouth with his own, plundering it, before pulling back to tell her, “It’s been my dream since I met you, pretty girl. I will call and get someone to pack up my stuff, and have it all in your flat today.”
She cannot help but laugh. “Anxious?”
He bumps her nose with his and tells her, “I don’t want you to think it over and retract your invitation. This way you would think twice before withdrawing it.”
She laughs, but he reaches over and, grabbing the shampoo, puts enough in his hand to wash her hair, not separating from her until he couldn’t clean her without having to move. He lovingly caresses her long legs, amazed as always by her clean lines. He has never felt stubble, and for the longest time had no idea how she had done it. She finally told him that she had been forced to have it lasered.
However this time, he has a better idea of what she means when she says she was forced, and he keeps his touch as gentle as before through the rage that sweeps through him. That this woman before him has had such a life makes him even more determined that she would never be treated that way again.
But when he moves his body up, the look of pure love on her face makes him forget why he was angry as he tugs her forward to rinse her off. He then hands her out of the shower and bathes quickly as she completes her routine of drying off then putting on her lotions. He steps out and accepts the towel that she always has ready for him. As he dries off, he watches as she brushes her wet hair then puts something in it that he notices she uses when she doesn’t want to bother with drying it.
He smiles as he heads into their bedroom, grabs his clothing and dresses. He loves that the little routines he has watched her do have allowed them this familiarity with each other. He sits on the bed to put his shoes on, watching as she comes in and starts getting ready.
A woman getting ready, watching them as they put on the layers as they dress themselves for the day, is a great sight. He has found that with Sookie what she picks often tells him what she is in the mood for better than she, herself, has done. Like today, she puts on soft underclothing, then grabs a t-shirt and jean shorts. She is looking for comfort, and he adjusts his day to make sure she has it.
When she finishes, he stands up, and holding his hand out for her, escorts her downstairs.
When they walk in, she stops and looks at Alex. “How?”
The two of them shrug. Alex tells her, “No idea, but it has happened so often that we give up. We chalk it up to being a twin thing, and we just learned to accept it. It is rare when we don’t match; it always ends up the same.”
She locks eyes with Hadley and they both giggle. Sookie walks to Alex, gifts him with a kiss on his cheek, then goes to help Hadley with breakfast.
Alex just grins at his brother, but groans as he sees the look on Eric’s face. “Let me guess, what you got this morning was way more than that?”
Eric chuckles. “A gentleman never tells.”
Rolling his eyes, Alex drops into his seat, sprawling out as he often does. “I talked with Pam last night. She called me this morning and told me her suggestions. Mostly, just admit that there are two of us, and that one is taken. To be frank, both of us are worried about the idiot stalkers out there and how they will react to her.”
He looks over at Sookie and tells her bluntly, “There is no need for your life to become a three ring circus just because some of my fans are a little too far out there and seriously think that they have a claim on my life. Some of them creep me out. I feel bad for them and try not to encourage it, but at the same time I don’t want to see anyone suffer for it, either.”
Hadley has been quiet as she pulls out the biscuits she had made before Sookie came in, working around her cousin who was making the gravy as she watches the eggs. The meats are done and there is not much else to do, but it is always easier with the two of them working together. She finally asks Alex, “What are you going to do if you do find someone you wish to date?”
He looks up at her, and smiles gently. “Treat her like gold and make sure she understands what she is getting into. If she still wishes to be around, I will treat her like the queen of my heart she will be.”
Sookie lifts an eyebrow and comments, “It must be the Skarsgard charm. He even sounds like Eric when he gets all gooey.”
Chuckling as she starts setting the table, Hadley tells her, “This is what those so-called real men try to be like. But you stumbled into the diamond mine, cuz.”
Eric on the other hand is watching his brother, and can see that he is falling for the other Stackhouse woman. And to be truthful, he couldn’t be happier. The Stackhouse women were what you saw. Not that they didn’t have hidden depths to them, but you don’t find women much more honest than they are. His brother could do so much worse than Sookie’s cousin.
Sookie just snorts, and doesn’t say anything, but it had been enough to remind them all of the truth.
Clearing his throat, Alex asks, “Is that ok, Sookie? If not, we can figure out something else.” He looks nervous, not wanting to upset her.
She finishes her gravy and pours it into a bowl, then grabs a ladle and puts it all on the table as Hadley puts the eggs that she had finished on the table beside it. “If that is what you think is best, then that is what we will do. Though I admit, I will be happy to get back to Sweden as soon as we can. This vacation is getting worse as it goes.”
Eric tugs her to his lap, and once seated, he fills her plate with her favorites as he tells her, “This is not really a vacation like I will take you on later. Think of it as a relaxing work trip. You are here to take care of the last few items that you need to deal with so you can move to Sweden permanently?”
Jason walks in rubbing his stomach as he sits down. “Not that she has a lot to worry about. You know Had’s not going to accept the house, and pretty much everything else is locked up. If you want to ship it over there, we could have done that for you. What else is there?”
Sookie looks down at her plate and tells them, “To sell my shares in the company.”
Jason jerks his head to her, “What the hell, Sooks? Why did you keep them?”
Eric, though, nods his head. “Smart. As long as you remain in control of those shares, you can control the company.”
Jason looks at him. “Wha…?”
Alex nods, too, as he follows his brothers thinking. “Sookie wanted to make sure that he couldn’t use the company that she had founded to wreck her reputation in business circles. By not selling when she left, she left behind proof that she was not running away. She also made sure that if anything happened, she could call the ethics board on him. She basically left him with a sword hanging over his head that if he did anything that she didn’t like, she would use her influence and her shares to make him miserable.”
Hadley and Jason blink as they think about it, then they both grin at each other. They turn to Sookie. “How many do you have?”
Eric and Alex start laughing. When the Hadley and Jason look at them, Alex is the one who calms enough to explain, “She owns the fucking company!”
Sookie is blushing, but she nods in agreement. “I owned a third of the company, but after the divorce and how he tried to drag my name through the mud, the judge ordered him to award the additional shares to me.”
Hadley asks her, “How much are those shares worth?”
Looking down she tells them, “A couple million.”
Jason chuckles, telling her, “Either Hads or I will take those shares from you.”
Shaking her head, Sookie tells them, “They are falling in value. That’s why I want them gone. They won’t be worth that in a month’s time. With the negative publicity he’s getting, he has no idea that the shares are going to tank soon. He told me there is no such thing as negative publicity. So I am planning to sell him the shares then take the money and invest it in Northman Gaming.”
Alex and Eric grin at each other, then Eric says, “Oh darling, I am all for this. But one thing. You will NOT go to the meeting alone.”
Sookie nods. “I wasn’t planning on it. The lawyers will be there.”
Shaking his head, Eric tells her, “No. They can be asked to leave. I will not. So I will go with you and be the loving boyfriend. Or your concerned boss. But whichever we decide on, I am going.”
Alex nods his head, and then chuckles. “I am going to have Pam wait on that press release. I have a plan…”
Eric looks at him, knowing that Alex is familiar with how he has the company set up. If Sookie truly wants what they have, she will soon be getting shares. As it is, every person who works at his company already owns shares. If she wants to invest in his company, well, she will be in for a surprise.
As they eat breakfast, plans are made and discussed in detail, but soon they are all in agreement, grinning at each other.
To be continued…