Chapter 25: The Word

Our flight to Louisiana was delayed thanks to some nasty weather in Chicago. I called my parents to tell them not to meet us at the airport like we’d planned. By the time we were set to land in Shreveport it would be close to the pre-dawn hours and I didn’t want to inconvenience them. Eric and I slept through most of the flight. The wiggle of his eyebrows when we boarded the plane told me he had a very specific idea about how we could pass some of the time. I’d rolled my eyes at him and told him to get some sleep so he would be able to drive us to my parents’ house.

“Where’s your sense of adventure?” Eric had taunted.

“You’ve never experienced a Stackhouse holiday, mister. We’re about to have all the adventure we can handle, trust me.” I leaned over the arm rest that was between us and kissed his cheek.

“Is that so?”

“You’ll see.” That was all I’d say on the subject.

I’d told him what to expect where my brother and father were concerned. I knew the opinions of my family members mattered to him as much as what his family thought mattered to me. He wanted to be in their good graces and I couldn’t blame him one bit for it. Not that I would give him up just because someone decided they didn’t like him, but it was still nice to know you had the blessings of those around you.

My Daddy liked Eric already. He’d pulled me from a burning car. Eric never yelled at me, made me feel bad about myself or gave anyone any reason to think he made me unhappy in any capacity. And if Mom gushed about Eric as much as I thought she did, I was sure Daddy was probably sick of hearing it by now. But I knew he was anxious to meet Eric.

“You gonna marry this one, Sookie?” Daddy asked when I’d told him Eric was coming home with me for Thanksgiving.

“I don’t know, Daddy. We haven’t talked about that yet.” It was the truth. We hadn’t talked about marriage. It was too soon. Not that I hadn’t given it some thought, I just hadn’t brought it up.

Eric ended up falling asleep next to me on the plane, his large hand covering mine while I read the most recent issue of Cosmo. I guess someone was telling me something because I ended up reading an article about ways to keep your sex life fresh. I didn’t think Eric and I had any trouble in that capacity. Getting us out of bed was harder than getting us into it. Hell, as of late we didn’t really need a bed. Anywhere in his house we felt frisky, we didn’t have to worry about being interrupted or caught. We just did what felt natural, and that resulted in a lot of sex up against a wall or on the couch. I’m not complaining one bit, either.

But then I got an idea. I shrugged my shoulder gently, just enough to jostle him a little. I kissed his forehead until he woke up. His eyes opened and his face turned up toward mine. “Something wrong?” He rubbed sleep from his eyes with his free hand.

“I’m going to the bathroom.” I winked at him, hoping he’d get the hint. He looked confused for a second before he caught my drift. “If I’m not back in three minutes, be sure to send a search party.”

Before he could say anything else, I climbed over him and headed for the bathroom. I felt his eyes on me the whole way. Most people were asleep, or at least had headphones on and weren’t paying much attention to the blond with a slight case of bedhead who was walking toward the back of the plane. I bit my lip nervously, my face flushing with excitement. I’d never done anything like this before and I wondered what it was about Eric that brought this adventurous, naughty side out of me.

I decided it was because I loved him and trusted him so much that I was willing to try new things. I was willing to take chances I would never have taken otherwise because I knew there was nothing I could do that would make him stop loving me. I locked myself in the bathroom and waited for Eric to arrive. I splashed some water on my face and washed my hands just to give myself something to do while I waited. For a few seconds I wondered how this was going to work. It was an awfully tiny space and I wasn’t sure the two of us were going to fit.

Oh, I’m sure Eric will figure something out, I thought to myself as I tried to figure out how this was going to work. After the allotted time there was a knock on the door. My heart jumped in my chest and I let out a squeak of surprise. I covered my mouth with one hand while unlocking the door with the other. Eric’s head came in a second later and my heart returned to its normal rhythm for a few seconds. He managed to squeeze himself into the room with me.

The fact that I was wearing pants didn’t really make things much easier. Not that I was plotting a second Mile High Club meeting, but if that should ever be something I would want to try again, I would make sure I was wearing a skirt when I flew. Just sayin’. Sex with Eric had never been clumsy or uncoordinated but then we hadn’t been confined to a space smaller than a coat closet. I tried not to think about it too much but Eric seemed to know how to combat the problems we were facing, and before I knew it, I was biting his shoulder to stifle the scream that had welled in my throat.

My orgasm left me dazed and shaky and we kissed until we’d come down from our little high. Eric put my pants back where they belonged and then kissed my forehead before I slipped out of the bathroom to head back to our seats. I got myself settled under a blanket and waited for him to sit down beside me. When he did, I curled into his side and rested my head on his shoulder. Our fingers laced together and soon after, we were both sound asleep.

While Eric was always recharged after a nap, I was usually left feeling groggy and disoriented. Sleeping on the plane was no different. Eric and I walked into the terminal with me leaning heavily against him. It was a good thing he was so alert and ready to go because there was no way I’d be able to drive us back to Bon Temps. I said a quick prayer of thanks for the invention of the GPS and yawned as we stepped away from the gate.

“Uh, Sookie, I think we have company.” Eric shook me gently.

“What?” I looked up at him. He pointed off to the left just a little. My eyes followed his finger and when I saw who he was pointing to, I lit up from the inside out. “Daddy?”

Without a second thought I let go of Eric and ran toward my father. When I jumped on him he caught me easily, his arms closing around me in the meanest bear hug I’d gotten since I graduated from college. My father was the very definition of a teddy bear. He’d put on a little weight since the summer and he’d let his beard grow in for the winter months since he worked outdoors. His grayish-blue eyes sparkled when I pulled back to look at him and kiss him on the cheek.

I giggled at the sensation left on my lips thanks to his beard and then asked, “What are you doing here? I told you not to drag yourself out so late.”

Daddy put me down and said, “Your Mama- God knows I love her- has been running around like a fool for the last week getting the house just right and making all sorts of plans and preparations for this holiday. You’d think one of those Food Network chefs was coming for dinner.” I couldn’t help but laugh at that. Mom was nothing if not a fan of that particular channel. “And on top of that, your Gran snores worse than Pop ever did so it’s not like I’d be getting much sleep anyway. Besides, I wanted a chance to meet your fella without your Mama around to swat at me for giving him the once over.”

“Oh, now Daddy you be nice. He did save my life, after all.” I turned to smile at Eric and was relieved when he was standing right behind me.

“So I heard.” Daddy’s eyes were focused on Eric. “I owe you a great big thank you, son.”

“You’re welcome, sir, but I must admit I did it for selfish reasons.” Eric wrapped an arm around me and I snuggled against him.

“Daddy, this is Eric. Eric, this is my father, Corbett Stackhouse.” I gestured between the two most important men in my life. They shook hands easily and I couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relieve at how easily it seemed Daddy was taking to Eric.

He hadn’t been so keen on Quinn but I got the impression it was because he thought I deserved much better. After a time he told me he wasn’t crazy about the idea that it seemed like Quinn never put me first. He didn’t like the idea that to Quinn, there would always be something more important than me. I wasn’t too crazy about that either but I’d come to Quinn’s defense, explaining that he was just preoccupied with getting his business off the ground. Daddy never bought it and he kept a close eye on Quinn as a result. He’d had a hard time accepting my decision to move to Illinois so Quinn and I could be together more often.

Maybe my reasons for going were all wrong but if it weren’t for Quinn, I never would have done it. If I never would have moved, I wouldn’t have met Eric. Something good had definitely come from a less than idea situation so I couldn’t be bitter. Eric was my reward for the heartbreak I’d suffered. I considered that to be a pretty good consolation prize.

“It’s good to meet you, son.” Daddy said while they were still shaking hands. “I’ve never seen my baby smile like that.” He nodded to me and I blushed a bit before burying my face in Eric’s side.

The two of them laughed at me like they were old friends and then we headed off to claim our luggage. I sat in the back so Daddy and Eric could get to know one another better. I listened to the easy flow of their conversation and before long, we were pulling up to the old farmhouse. The lights were out everywhere but the kitchen. The clock on the dashboard told me it was nearly four. I sighed at the very real possibility Mom was already up putting together dough for biscuits or a pie crust. I really hoped it was just Gran getting a glass of milk.

The three of us walked up the back steps with Daddy leading the charge. The kitchen was empty when we walked in. The three of us left our shoes on the mat near the back door. Daddy took our coats and went to hang them while Eric looked around the kitchen. The place was probably in need of a dozen upgrades but I liked the fact that it felt like I was stepping into another era. Daddy had replaced the flooring himself a few summers before. With Jason’s help he’d refinished the cabinets along with the kitchen table and chairs.

The stove and refrigerator were the epitome of retro, and despite their age, were bright white. There were new curtains hanging in the window, no doubt Gran had sewn them himself. In addition to her many culinary talents, Gran was a whiz with a needle and thread. I’d always admired her eye for sewing. She was able to follow the most intricate patterns, whereas I got too frustrated to really put a whole lot of effort into it. Gran found it relaxing where I found it to be tedious. Maybe I’d feel differently in fifty years when sex wasn’t such an appealing option to me anymore.

Although if Eric was still around at that point, I was pretty sure sewing would continue to be the furthest thing from my mind. Daddy excused himself to get a few hours of sleep before Mom forced him out of bed to rearrange furniture to make room for the card table in the living room. I showed Eric upstairs to my room, surprised no comments were made about separate sleeping quarters. Even though I tried to take my own bag up, Eric wouldn’t let me have it.

“So this is your room?” Eric asked once we were in it.

“Yep. Try not to be jealous of all my academic achievements.” I snickered as I looked at my small ‘wall of honor’ where all of my ribbons, trophies and certificates were located.

Eric set down the bags and went over to inspect the items on the wall. “Fourth grade spelling bee winner?” He smirked over his shoulder at me.

“Hey, I was the only one my class that could spell pneumatic.” I said in my own defense as I slid up behind him and wrapped my arms around his waist.

“Yes, but can you use it in a sentence?” He turned without me ever unlocking my arms.

“The clouds drifted on pneumatic currents.” I said easily.

“Smart ass.” He bent and kissed me.

“I’ll take that as a compliment.” I whispered against his lips before biting the lower one.

He growled and pulled me into a deeper kiss. The grind of his hips against mine brought me back to reality and I pulled back. “What’s wrong?”

“We’re in my parents’ house.” I felt that same old blush creeping up to redden my face.

“We can be quiet.” He whispered in my ear, his breath warm on my skin.

“Not very easily. Besides, we just had sex on the plane.”

“Since when is once ever enough for us?” Eric pulled me closer to him.

“That, my dear, is so not the point. My parents, no to mention my Gran is right downstairs, so nothing below the waist, mister.” I poked him in the chest.

My silly- and slightly sleep deprived brain- failed to realize he took that as a challenge. But being that Eric could not only be patient, but a gentleman, he backed off. He could also be quite manipulative when he wanted to, and that thought that crept in a moment too late. I went to work unpacking our things while Eric continued his tour of my past. He commented on various pictures hanging on the wall and even plucked the picture of me and Amelia all dressed up for senior prom. I hadn’t thought about that in a long time.

“You looked beautiful, lover.” Eric smiled up at me from the picture.

“Thank you. That dress was murder. All the tulle in the skirt was itchy as sin. I couldn’t wait to take it off.” I told him with a giggle when I thought of how quickly I’d whipped it off as soon as I got home.

“I would have had fun removing it for you.” He leered at me and I rolled my eyes.

“I bet you would. Maybe if you behave yourself I’ll model it for you before we fly back home. I still have it in my closet.” I wasn’t above using my own brand of manipulation to get him to fall in line.

“You don’t play fair.”

“And still you keep coming back for more. Wonder why that is?”

“I think it’s a delicate balance of being a glutton for punishment and ridiculously in love with you.” Eric put the picture back where he found it.

“Good answer, Mr. Northman.” I said as I pulled my nightgown from my bag.

“I thought so.” Eric smiled at me and watched while I got undressed and put my nightgown on.

I wanted to go downstairs to the bathroom to brush my teeth but I was too tired and the last thing I needed was for Gran to wake up. She’d always been an early riser and if she got a hold of me, I’d never get to sleep. I turned down the bed while Eric pulled off his own clothes. He pulled on a pair of flannel pajama pants and got into bed next to me. I snuggled into his side as I did most nights, assuming he wasn’t spooned up behind me. The feeling of his arm draped over me in any capacity made it easier for me to drift off.

As per usual, Eric’s long fingers traced patterns on my shoulders while I did the same on the tight muscles of his stomach. Before long, we were both breathing deep and even. It was officially lights out for the two of us. What woke me was the sound of my idiot brother and his wife arguing in the entryway downstairs. My eyes opened reluctantly and I rolled over to see that it was almost noon.

“Eric, wake up.” I rubbed his shoulder gently.

“Five more minutes.” He mumbled and reached out to pull me back to him.

“Eric, we don’t have-”

“Five minutes. That’s all. I just want five more minutes with you.” He purred in my ear before trapping me underneath him. The tent in his pajama pants told me he wanted more than five minutes.

“Eric, come on, we have to get up.” I tried to get out from under him but all that did was create more friction between us. He snuggled against me, pinning me under him.

I was just about to make a threat that would have launched him right out of bed if Jason wouldn’t have just walked right into the bedroom. “Morning, Soo- whoa, sorry.”

“It’s fine, Jason. Eric was just getting up.” I smiled over Eric’s shoulder at my brother, hoping my blush could just be confused for being overheated by too many blankets. Eric rolled off of me and onto his back.

“Looks to me like someone might already be up.” Jason grinned and any shot I had at an acceptable level of flushed was gone.

“Jason!” Leave it to my brother to call attention to something like that.

Completely unabashed, Jason continued, “Mom and Gran are about to start on the stuffing if you want to go down there and referee.”

“Oh, hell.” I muttered to myself.

“What’s the big deal about stuffing?” Eric asked innocently, causing both Jason and I to stop moving altogether. “What? What’d I say?”

Jason and I shared a look and then busted out laughing. “Mom and Gran get along pretty well when it comes to most things, but they’ve never seen eye to eye on stuffing.” Jason explained.

“Gran thinks there should be nuts and apples while Mom prefers sausage and sage.” I chimed in.

“So why not have both?” Eric suggested with an arched eyebrow.

“Oh, we do.” Jason laughed.

“So then what’s the problem?” Eric looked confused. I couldn’t blame him.

“Every year they make us vote on which one is better.” Jason crossed his arms as he leaned in the doorway.

“And every year there’s a tie.” I sighed.

“Except this year there’s gonna be an odd number.” Jason grinned, making me groan.

“Shit.” I muttered.

“Yep. So come on, get dressed and come partake in the Family Guy marathon I’m starting in the living room before the game gets going.” Jason waved us out of bed.

“I love that show!” Eric jumped out of bed like there wasn’t a nearly naked woman sitting next to him.

“If you have testosterone, it should be made illegal not to.” Jason said in a completely serious tone.

“Man, you would love my brother. His impression of Mr. Herbert is scary good.” Eric chuckled.

I sat there and watched as my usually fairly straight-laced boyfriend regressed into a frat boy, and started trading quotes with my brother. I shook my head in amazement, though I was happy to see the two of them getting along so well.

“Who wears short shorts? I wear short shorts!” Eric shouted gruffly, making Jason double over in laughter.

“Giggity, giggity…alriiiiight.” Jason answered with the weirdest chuckle.

“Yes I could go for a frozen treat right about now. But no sprinkles. And for every sprinkle I find, I shall kill you.” I threw in for good measure, earning me a look from both my brother and my boyfriend that told me I didn’t belong in their little He-Man Woman Hater’s Club. I rolled my eyes and listened as Eric started with another quote.

“Hi, I’m Peter Griffin. You know there’s an issue facing many Americans today that I know concerns a great number of us. According to Gallop Polls: 1 in 12 American’s is unaware that the Bird is the Word. I for one, dream of an America where everybody knows that the Bird is the Word.” Every single muscle in my body tensed up at what was about to come. Eric grinned over at me, knowing exactly what he was doing. I was so going to get him for this later.

In perfect unison, Eric and Jason starting singing that damn Surfin’ Bird song that had me nearly homicidal for a portion of Johan’s visit. That stupid song was stuck in my head for days and I found myself humming it when I was walking the halls at school. It was a fucking nightmare.

“Oh my God shut up!” I shouted at the two of them. They stopped for a moment before Jason turned to me with this ridiculous grin on his face.

“But, Sook, haven’t you heard?”

“The bird’s the word.” Eric finished for him.

I groaned and covered my head with a pillow as the two of them went back to singing. It was going to be a long day.


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