I was stretched out on the couch in the office of the bar when Pam walked in. She stopped short, her breath catching in her throat. She stared at me for a minute before she continued walking across the room to the desk. She dropped her designer bag on top of it and peeled off her coat. She didn’t say a word.
“I was thinking about that party where we met.” I stared up at the ceiling. “Do you remember the song that was playing?”
Pam sighed heavily and said, “Eric, if you have something to say…”
“What song was it, Pam? I know you know this.”
“Always Be My Baby by Mariah Carey.” Pam said with exasperation. “What’s the point, Eric?”
“The night I met you, you were wearing those khaki pants that only came to your knees, and a light pink tank top. You were the whitest girl there. I don’t think I’d ever seen someone with skin whiter than yours. You walked right up to me and you told me I’d make a great trophy husband. That was the first thing you ever said to me. I liked you right away. You never pulled any punches with me. In no time at all, you were not only my best friend, but my family. You were the first person I wasn’t related to by blood that I trusted with my life. After going through the things I did with losing Annika, I guess there was a part of me that wanted to put you in her place.
“Maybe it was wrong of me to do that. I don’t really know if I was or not. It’s weird, though, that it bothers me that you and Johan slept together. A part of me says there’s no reason to be jealous over it. Sookie keeps telling me that you’re both adults, and I have no reason to worry that if things go sour with the two of you, I’m the one that’s going to lose out the most. But then I don’t think she really understands how important the two of you are to me. You’re not just my friend, Pam, and you never were. And you’re not just some woman I went into business with, either. From the very beginning, you mattered to me in a way that no one else ever has, including Sookie.
“I don’t know if I can even find the right words to describe it, exactly, but I don’t think I need to. You know what it is because I’m the same thing for you. What it is between us, it’s just always been there. It’s not like I ever wanted us to be something more than what we are, but I guess I’m just confused as to how you can be so… whatever you are with Johan and not be that way with me. I know we’re two different people, but we’re also the same. I don’t want to end up in a position where I have to choose between you two, because to be honest, I don’t know how that would work.
“So yeah, I can admit I overreacted to finding out you two slept together. I completely lost my shit. I’m not blaming you or Johan for it. There was a lot that went into it, and finding out about you guys just pushed me over the edge. There was a lot of weight on my shoulders, and finding out the two people I trust most in the world have been lying to me for almost a decade? Yeah, it pissed me off. You could have told me, Pam. I don’t know if I’ll ever understand it, but what I think doesn’t matter. You’re both adults. Sookie’s right when she says you know what you’re getting into.” I stopped talking for a minute, which was just long enough for Pam to pipe up.
“You think it doesn’t matter what you think? Eric, why do you think we never told you? Neither of us wanted to hurt you, and we knew if we told you, you weren’t going to take it well. It’s not like we set out to hurt you, or that it was even something we planned. It was just one of those things that happened.” Pam came around from behind the desk and pulled up a chair in front of the couch.
“So were you ashamed of it, Pam? I mean, I don’t get-”
“I didn’t want you to think that I was with him because I couldn’t be with you.” Pam cut me off. “You’re the closest thing I’ve ever had to a brother, and the only feelings I’ve ever had for you have been the sort I would have for a family member. But Johan isn’t family to me. You’re right that he looks just like you, but he’s not you. You know that. I know that. He knows that. Hell, even Sookie knows that. Do I care about Johan? Yes, of course I do. He is my friend. But he’s not you, and he never will be. Just like you’ll never be him. When I look at you, I see all of the subtle differences that set the two of you apart. Just by looking into your eyes, I’d know it was you and not him. There’s a big difference, Eric, and it takes a trained eye to see it. It was never about you. You should know me better than that.”
I did know Pam better than that, which was part of the reason I didn’t get her and Johan. In the end, it wasn’t really any of my business, and she didn’t have to explain it to me.
“You can tell me to butt out, but there’s something I was wondering.”
“Oh, trust me, I’ll tell you to shut your fucking gob if you step out of line.” Pam smirked at me in a familiar way that had the corner of my mouth lifting just a hair. “So, come on, out with it. I don’t have all day.”
“Was that time you told me about the only time?” I looked her straight in the eye, and she held my gaze with confidence, like the Pam I’d always known from that very first night at that stupid frat party at Duke.
“I guess it depends on whether or not you’re going to leave the office in a rampage and clobber the first guy you see.” Pam said smugly.
“I can control myself.”
“Oh really? Because I had to surrender nearly four minutes of surveillance footage to the police department that proves you can’t. Just what the fuck were you doing, Eric?”
I sighed and said, “It was a mistake, Pam.”
Pam laughed harshly and said, “That’s a load of bullshit. Maybe it works on Sookie and your parents, but I know better.”
“There’s been a lot going on lately, Pam. Between work, my mother harping on me to put a ring on Sookie’s finger already, stuff that was going on with Sookie, what you told me about you and my brother, and then seeing Bill in the bar and touching Sookie, I just lost my shit. It’s not like I came here Saturday looking for a fight with someone. It just happened.” I spoke quickly, and found I felt better for saying all of it.
“You know all of these problems that were piling up? Maybe this wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t get such tunnel vision. You have a way of blocking out everything else when you see something you want, Eric. I know part of that has to do with your Type A personality, and your need to have what you want. I’m not saying you shouldn’t want Sookie, but she can’t be your whole world. It’s not good for you to put that much focus into one person, and you do it all the time. First it was Johan, then it was me and now it’s Sookie. You can’t look to one person to be all the things you need in life, Eric. It’s ultimately going to be too much weight for a single relationship, and if you’re not careful, you’re going to lose her.” Pam warned me.
I hated to admit it, but what Pam was saying made a lot of sense. It was a pattern I hadn’t even recognized with myself, but she was absolutely right. The thing was, as much as I was open with Sookie, there were a few things I kept to myself because it wasn’t right to put it all on her. Especially lately, we were both so busy and stressed with our own things that it didn’t seem right to go shoving our problems onto each other. Maybe that was where we went wrong?
“Eric, you have to think about things more rationally. I know you think it’s your job to police everything and protect everyone. Loyalty means a great deal to you. I get that. But if you keep going like this, you’re going to end up alone, and you’re not going to have anyone to blame for it but yourself.” Pam told me. “You’ve got to stop trying to control everything, and start focusing your energy on the things you can actually change. You’re not responsible for everything and everyone. The only thing you’re responsible for is you.”
Pam was right about that, too. “Damn, Pam, why didn’t you ever say any of this before?”
Pam snorted and said, “Because you’re a stubborn asshole when you think you’re right.”
“Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?”
“Yeah, well, the kettle is the one facing jail time for his fuckery.” Pam retorted, effectively shutting me up for a few seconds. “I want to help you, Eric, but there isn’t a whole lot I can do for you this time. You fucked up.”
I laughed and sat up on the couch. “I think saying I fucked up is an understatement.”
“Probably, but do I really need to run down a list of all the ways you fucked up? You know what you did.” Pam crossed her legs and sat back in her seat. I appreciated Pam’s ability to call me on my shit without rubbing my nose in it. “So, the question is, what are you going to do about it?”
I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “That’s what I need to figure out. I’ve sort of hit rock bottom here, Pam. I’m pretty sure my job is history. School boards don’t tend to look favorably on a teacher who is arrested for a violent crime, even if it’s a misdemeanor. Things with Sookie are up in the air. I don’t know what to do.”
“Well, well, Eric Northman finally joins the rest of the world.” Pam smirked at me. When I glared at her she continued, “I have an idea, but it’s going to require that you stop being a whiny bitch. Emo doesn’t look good on you, Northman.”
Getting things straight with Pam went a long way to making me feel better. She was working with our lawyer on the possibility that Bill decided he wanted to sue the bar. The lawyer had advised Bill might not have much of a case since he was removed from the property previously, and asked not to return. There was no guarantee, however, that he wouldn’t come after me, personally, so there was another thing to consider when I talked to Mr. Cataliades.
I was informed it was possible for me to travel while awaiting sentencing because I wasn’t facing a felony charge, but I really didn’t want to chance it. The last thing I needed was to get a speeding ticket or something while I was in California, and have that throw a really monkey wrench into the works. I had enough problems. Sticking close to home was the best bet for me, even if I was severely disappointed I wasn’t going to get to spend some time at the ocean. I had really wanted to show all of that to Sookie.
For the first time in my life, things weren’t at all going the way I’d planned. My job was, at best, on the line. My girlfriend was spending a few days more than a thousand miles away while she considered whether or not we had a future together. I was facing possible jail time. I had some serious baggage that needed dealing with where my dead sister was concerned, and my parents were flying in the next day. It was enough to make me want to get rip roaring drunk, but I decided that wasn’t the way I wanted to deal with my problems.
I was just about to order up some Chinese food when Johan let himself into the house. Jeter tore through the house at break neck speeds to get to his buddy, and former owner. By the time I got to the living room, Johan and Jeter were wrestling each other on the floor. I swear, my twin was like a big kid sometimes. It amazed me how the two of us could be so different.
“You eat yet, lillebror?” Johan asked without looking up from the dog.
“I was just about to get Chinese.”
“I was thinking the same thing. Must be a twin thing.” Johan put Jeter in a headlock, making the dog growl and nip at him.
“You want sesame chicken?”
“Do I ever want anything else?”
“I’ll put in the order.”
“I’ll be here.”
I shook my head, and went to the kitchen to place the order at New Star, while my twin continued to wrestle with the dog. I had just gotten off the phone when I heard Johan disentangling himself from the dog. Jeter followed Johan into the kitchen, and promptly headed downstairs to his water bowl.
“You coming with me to pick it up?” The only downside to ordering from New Star was that they didn’t deliver, and even if they did, I lived too far away for it to matter.
“Sure. I’ve got Pam’s car.” Johan waggled his eyebrows.
“How’d you swing that?”
Pam took her car almost as seriously as I took the Corvette. It was a sleek little BMW, fully loaded and excellent for doing donuts in an empty lot. I could already see the mischief on Johan’s face, and I didn’t want any part of it.
“We’ll take Sookie’s car.” I shook my head at him.
“What? No offense, lillebror, because I’m sure the Scion is a great car, but we’ve got a Beamer to play with. Pam’s Beamer.”
“Yeah, and I’m already in hot water with Pam right now, so I’m really not looking to add to it.”
“You’re no fun.” Johan’s childish pout pushed a button, and before I knew it, I was going off on him.
“Fuck you, Johan. You know, it’s really easy for you to just breeze into town and stir things up. You get to cause all sorts of chaos and then go back to Sweden, and do whatever the fuck it is you do with your life. You show up, turn everything inside out and then you disappear. You don’t get to deal with the fallout from the shit you do. You don’t get phone calls from Mom all panicked over what you’re going to do with your life. You don’t have to deal with Pam after you leave. She never says so, but I know it bothers her that you’re not around. I’m not even going to pretend to understand why the two of you can get together for fuck dates, but you can’t be in a real relationship with each other. I know you love her. You’ve loved her since the second you met her. Why don’t you quit being such a stum åsna?” I yelled at my brother, and it felt good to let all of that out.
“She told you-”
“She told me that New York wasn’t the only time you two were together. Look, if you and Pam are happy together, that’s great. You’re my brother, and Pam is… well, she’s Pam. But don’t dick around with her, bror. You break her heart, and I will bury you. And before you can accuse me of choosing water over blood, I told her the same thing. You two idiots need to quit thinking with your dicks, and make a decision.”
Johan grinned at me, which wasn’t quite the reaction I was expecting. “You sound so much like Mom.”
I groaned in frustration and went to the living room to get my shoes on. “It’s not a joke, storebror. You really have to learn how to start taking shit seriously. Whenever things get real for you, you just run. You don’t deal with the aftermath of anything. You leave it for everyone else to clean up.”
“I move on.” Johan corrected.
I snorted as I tied my shoes. “Which is how I ended up with Jeter, right?”
“You said you didn’t mind taking him.”
“That’s not the point, Johan. You made it sound like you either I take him, or you were going to have to send him to a shelter. I did the research. You could have shipped him over, but you chose not to. You make excuses all the time for why your ‘old life’ isn’t working for you, and rather than dealing with your shit, you just let everyone else deal with it. You don’t think about what it’s like for the rest of us.”
“Where the hell is this coming from?” Johan probably had a right to look confused since I’d never mentioned any of this to him before. Frankly, I’d never given it much thought. I just did what everyone else did, and chalked it up to Johan being Johan.
“This is coming from a lot of introspection on my own life, and trying to figure out how the hell I’m going to fix my fuck ups. Pam says I need to stop being such a control freak, and focus on the shit I can actually fix. I started thinking about things, and I realized that I have spent most of our life cleaning up your messes. I can’t do it anymore, Johan. You’re my brother, and I love you, but I can’t be responsible for you anymore. I have a life of my own I need to deal with. It’s time for you to grow up, storebror.” I pulled on my coat, and opened the front door. Johan didn’t say anything. “You still coming with me?”
“Yeah. We’ll take the Scion.” Johan nodded, and then walked past me out the front door.
I wasn’t the least bit surprised when I saw my parents come off the plane looking exactly the same as they did the last time I saw them. Mom’s arm was looped through Dad’s, as it almost always was when they walked together. Dad was dressed in a polo shirt and pressed khakis, looking every bit the retired military man he was. Mom was perfectly coiffed, and wearing wool pants and a heavy sweater. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Dad brought little more than a windbreaker for a coat, while Mom would be burrowing inside a parka.
I was easy enough to spot in the crowd, since I was a good five or six inches taller than the tallest person there. Mom broke away from Dad to give me a tearful hug. She whispered endearments to me in Swedish, as she’d done since I was a baby. It was sweet of her to keep up those little traditions, and I was thankful to be past the age where I would be embarrassed by it. Mom could go from life of the party to blubbering mess in the blink of an eye. Dad, on the other hand, was stone faced and offered me a handshake when Mom let me go.
“Oh, Eric, we’re so happy to be here!” Mom blotted tears from her eyes with a tissue she produced from the sleeve of her sweater. No doubt she had a small wad of them under her watch.
“I’m glad you could come. I wish we had better weather for you, but this is about as good as it gets here in Chicago at this time of year.” I looked to the large windows of the terminal.
It was partially cloudy outside, and the forecasters were all threatening heavy snowfall overnight. There was a storm coming in from the northwest we were supposed to hunker down for, and all I could do was be grateful Sookie wasn’t supposed to fly in for three more days. The cold, damp air outside was a great indicator of an impending storm. I really missed summer.
“Eric.” Dad nodded to me.
“Dad.” I nodded back. “Shall we get your bags?”
“Oh, yes, I suppose we should get going.” Mom said with a smile full of sunshine.
We navigated our way through the airport and located their luggage. Mom sat in the back of Sookie’s Scion, commenting on how roomy the interior of the car was, considering how boxy it looked. Dad fiddled with the navigation system, trying to figure out how to “shut the damn thing up.” When I started to give him instructions, he gave me one of those infamous ‘I got it glares’ that kept me quiet. He’d figure it out, even if he had to stay out in the car long after we arrived.
“Are you hungry? I was thinking we could stop for lunch, if you’re up to it?” I suggested to my parents.
“No, no, we can just have sandwiches when we get to the house.” Mom waved me off from the backseat. “So when does Sookie get back?”
“Barring no problems with the weather, she should be back on Tuesday.” I couldn’t wait to see her. She had only been gone a few days, but I missed her. It was the longest we’d gone without seeing one another since we’d met.
“She’s such a lovely girl, Eric. You got lucky with her.” Mom reached forward to pat my shoulder.
“Yes, I did.” I couldn’t argue with logic like that. Although I couldn’t help but worry how much longer I would have her.
“So where’s your knucklehead of a brother?” Dad spoke up without looking away from the electronics he was fiddling with. I was surprised to hear him speak.
“He’s staying with Pam.”
Mom made a noise of disapproval from the backseat. “I know she’s your friend, Eric, but I don’t like that girl.”
“She’s not so bad, Mom, just a little rough around the edges.” I said in Pam’s defense.
“She’s crude and disrespectful.” Mom said with a huff.
“Oh, stifle yourself, Stell. She’s the female form of our sons combined.” Dad said with a hint of a smile.
“She plays with Johan’s feelings, and I don’t like it one bit. She’s had him on the ropes for years, all the while gallivanting around with other women.” Mom argued, her voice dangerously close to harpy level.
“Can we please talk about something other than Johan and Pam?” I suggested.
“Good idea.” Dad frowned at the GPS. “How about you tell us how you ended up in jail?”
Mom gasped in the backseat, although she was already familiar with the story. I had yet to really give it to them in my own words, but I’d been saving it for when we could discuss it face to face. In spite of the fact that I was over thirty, I still felt like I was a pre-teen about to get the grounding of a lifetime. I made the mistake of glancing in the rear view mirror, and caught Mom’s lip quivering. Fuck.
“Well? I’m not getting any younger.” Dad prodded.
I took a deep breath, and then told them the story of what happened, leaving out as many details as I could about things that weren’t any of their business. As if it wasn’t awkward enough that Mom and Pam were less than friendly, I didn’t need Mom blaming Pam for what happened. While Pam may have had a hand in it somewhere, ultimately, it was all my fault. No one else needed to take responsibility for it.
“Not too bright there, son.” Dad shook his head with disappointment.
“Tom, that man almost killed the woman our son is going to marry!”
“Hold on just a minute there, Stell. I don’t remember Eric calling to tell us he asked her to marry him.” Dad looked to me. “You didn’t, did you?”
“No. It’s something Sookie and I were talking about before all of this happened, but I think it’s best if we take that off the table for a while.”
“What?” Mom screeched from the backseat.
“Oh, Eric, no.” Mom was full on crying. From life of the party to Sylvia Plath in record time.
“Stell, leave the boy be. He’s got more important things to worry about right now than china patterns and honeymoon plans.” Dad lectured impatiently from the front seat.
You’d think with the way they barked at each other most of the time they couldn’t stand one another. They kind of reminded me of a cross between the Barones and the Bunkers. Archie Bunker was sitting to my right, and Marie Barone was in the middle of a breakdown in the backseat of Sookie’s car. I was glad Sookie wasn’t around for this. She didn’t need Mom harping all over her about marriage, too.
“Mom, it’s not that we don’t want to get married. We’ve talked about it quite a bit. It’s in our future, but have other things we need to focus on right now. It’s not the right time.” I tried to explain to her, but she was sniffling and dabbing at her eyes in the back.
I looked over at Dad who was rubbing his eyes. The five remaining five minutes of the ride back to my house were spent with Dad muttering at his breath at not being able to get the GPS to cooperate with him. So far, things had gone better than expected, oddly enough. I suspected it would go downhill when Johan showed up later for dinner.
Mom went to the guest room to take a nap, while Dad and I settled in front of the TV to watch football. Jeter was curled up near the Christmas tree, watching the light chase themselves around the branches. Dad grumbled at a bad call a referee made, and then got up to get himself another beer when the game went to commercial.
“So, give it to me straight, soldier.” Dad instructed, his universal invitation to a conversation.
“What do you want to know, Dad?”
“Did that dickhead you dismantled really have something to do with Sookie’s accident?”
“Nothing has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but my gut has been screaming at me from the beginning that he was somehow involved.”
“I have to tell you, that sounds a bit crazy.” Dad sipped from his bottle.
“You’re telling me.”
“Why do you suppose he’d do something like that?”
Dad laughed and said, “Well, that goes without saying, son, but there’s got to be another reason for it. There aren’t a whole lot of people who kill just for the fun of it.”
“Except for Marines, right?” I teased.
Dad laughed again. He was always in a lighter mood when he wasn’t around to corral Mom’s roller coaster emotions. I guess I was a great example of how the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Dad quieted down, and his eyebrows furrowed in a familiar way while he thought about what he wanted to say next.
“You know, son, there’s nothing wrong with defending what’s yours. I haven’t met your Sookie yet, but I can tell she means a great deal to you. If she’s half as sweet as your Mom says, I think you found a good one. You were right to protect her. But you have to be smarter about it. I’m not mad at you for what you did. Hell, I probably understand it better than you think. The thing is, sometimes you have to put her above your own needs, know what I mean?” Dad didn’t look at me while he talked, which wasn’t unusual.
“I think so.” I nodded, knowing he’d see it out of his peripherals.
We got quiet again for a little while. Dad got absorbed in the game again until half time, at which point he raided my kitchen for a snack. When Mom wasn’t around to monitor what he ate, he had the diet of a frat boy. He figured the fact that he was in excellent physical condition for someone his age balanced out the junk he ate. He came back from his raid with a bag of Sun Chips and a displeased look on his face.
“Since when do you eat chick food?” Dad shook his head once he was settled on the couch.
“Those are Sookie’s.”
“Oh.” Dad stared at the bag like it might explode.
“They’re actually pretty good.”
“Hmph.” Was all I got in return. He unclipped the bag and dug in. After stuffing a handful of chips into his mouth, he looked at the bag again with an expression of surprise. “Not bad.”
I controlled the smile on my face. “So, Dad, I gotta ask you something, and I need you to not be too Marine about it.” Dad had a way of clamming up and reverting to the military man he was when we got into emotional discussions.
“We’ll see.” Stock answer for Thomas J. Northman.
“Why did you and Mom take down Annika’s pictures after she died?” I came right out with it.
Dad looked thoughtfully at his beer bottle before draining what was left in it. He got up to get another, which didn’t surprise me one bit. What did surprise me was that he brought me one, too. He took his seat on the couch and popped another Sun Chip in his mouth. I was starting to think he wasn’t going to answer, but he finally spoke up.
“Losing a child… I can’t even begin to describe to you what that feels like, Eric. Maybe if it had been because of a disease where we had time to prepare, it might have been easier. I don’t know. All I know is, one minute she was in the world, and the next she was gone. As a parent, you’re always of the mindset that your child is going to bury you, not the other way around. Some day when you have kids of your own, you’ll understand it.”
“Was it just too hard to see her everywhere?”
“Son, I could burn down the world, and I would still see my baby girl’s face everywhere I look. We took down the pictures because it was hard to watch you boys grow up while knowing Annika was never gonna get to where you boys are. She was never going to go off to college. She was never going to settle into a career. She was never going to buy her own house. She wasn’t going to get married, or have children of her own. For eternity, she’s always going to be that bright eyed, teenager who was just on the cusp of becoming what she was meant to be. The older you and Johan got, the easier it was to see pieces of her in the two of you. I’d see her in the way Johan holds his fork, or the way you tied your shoes. Little things like that kept her with us, and we didn’t need pictures to remind us of her\.” Dad took another long pull from his beer bottle. “We didn’t take down those pictures because we wanted you boys to forget. We wanted to make it easier on you, that’s all.”
“You know this is the first time I’ve heard you talk about her since she died?”
Dad nodded and said, “Frankly, son, there’s not a whole lot to say. I love her more than I can ever put into words. The grief never ends. I hope you never have to experience it for yourself, because it’s a burning pain that settles right here.” Dad moved his hand in a large circle over his chest and stomach. “But I am sorry if you boys thought we didn’t care. We did care. We still care. When she died, a piece of a us went with her, and we’re never going to get it back.”
“You think that’s why Mom’s pushing so hard for Sookie and me to get married?” I suspected that was the reason, but I liked hearing Dad’s point of view.
Dad laughed again and said, “Your mother doesn’t want you to end up alone. She thinks you’re too much like me, and Lord knows, if I didn’t have my Stell, I’d be a miserable old bastard.” Dad smiled warmly, and I was pretty sure he was picturing Mom in his mind. I’d seen that look on his face a time or two in my life. “She wants you to be happy.”
“She doesn’t push Johan.” I pointed out.
“Son, Johan couldn’t even take care of that dog over there. He’s not ready to take care of a wife and children. But you? You’re there. You just needed the one.” Dad said with conviction. “Who’s idea was it for that girl of yours to go down to Louisiana, anyway?”
“Mine. I thought it might be a good idea for us to get some space from each other so we could figure some things out.”
Dad clapped a hand on my shoulder, the closest he got to giving hugs unless a death was involved. “If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it was meant to be. If it doesn’t, it was never yours to begin with.”
“That’s the biggest cliché I’ve ever heard.” I deadpanned, even though I knew he was probably right.
Dad playfully boxed my ears. “Don’t mouth off to your C.O.”
“Yessir.” I smiled at him and said, “Thanks, Dad.”
Dad cleared his throat and took another drink of his beer. “It’s what I’m here for.” He turned his eyes back to the TV before saying, “Besides, I figure you must love your Sookie a great deal if you’re willing to go to jail for her.”
That particular thought hadn’t occurred to me, but it was definitely the truth. That’s when I knew that if I had to go back and do it all over again, I would do the exact same thing. Sookie was more important to me than I was to myself. She was the one. She was it for me.
Now I just needed her to come home so I could tell her that.