Being that close to Sookie without being able to really touch her, or say the things I wanted to say to her, wasn’t easy. For those fifty minutes it was an exercise in trying to think of every boring subject known to man in order to keep from dragging her out of that dingy room. The second I touched her, I felt her shiver next to me. The fact that she barely moved the entire period was evidence enough that she wanted me every bit as much as I wanted her. While I hated to walk away from her, I was thankful when the bell rang. It felt like time had stopped moving. I didn’t enjoy the purgatory we seemed to be trapped in.
The last class of the day was a blur for me. I don’t recall what I said since my mind was hopelessly stuck on Sookie. I couldn’t shake the smell of her perfume for the feeling of her warm skin under my fingertips. When the last bell of the day rang, I found myself bolting toward her classroom. I didn’t know exactly where it was, but I knew the general area. I walked about aimlessly, trying to make it look like I was just out for a stroll.
When I found her, she was sitting behind her desk, casually tapping a pen against her bottom lip. She appeared to be deep in thought. I gathered her legs were crossed, based on the way she was shaking back and forth in her seat. I slipped into the room and closed the door behind me. The click of the lock was what got her attention. Her eyes snapped up to mine and she was immediately on her feet.
“Eric,” She almost smiled but stopped short. “What brings you here?”
“I spent all of last period thinking about you.” I had no problem telling her this, mostly because I enjoyed the way her cheeks flushed.
“That’s really sweet of you, but I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to be swinging by like this.” She stepped around her desk and perched herself on the edge of it.
“School’s out, Miss Stackhouse.” I advanced toward her. In three long strides I was right in front of her.
“We’re still on school property, Eric.” She bit her lower lip nervously.
“The door is locked.” I put my hands on her hips.
“Eric-” I didn’t get to hear the rest of what she had to say because I kissed her. I couldn’t wait anymore. She hesitated for just a moment before she attacked me right back.
My hand slid up and eased her hair out of its ponytail. Her lips parted to allow my tongue entrance to her mouth and I took full advantage of it. She had one hand on my neck and the other on my side, holding me close to her. Seems we would need to redefine what we considered to be work appropriate displays of affection.
I kissed her until we had to come up for air. “We can’t make this a habit.” Sookie looked up into my eyes.
“You’re right.” I stepped back and she pouted, causing me to do an internal victory dance. “If you don’t have plans, you could come by my house for a bit. I’m sure Jeter would love to see you.”
Sookie gave me a coy smile and turned her head to the side, flipping her hair over her shoulder as she did so. “Is that right?”
I nodded and smiled at her. “He was in a funk all day yesterday.”
“Are you sure you’re talking about your dog?” Sookie slid off her desk and straightened her skirt before moving around to pick up her things.
Watching her bend over in that pinstripe skirt was the highlight of my day. It hugged every single one of her curves and the urge to fuck her right there on the desk was overwhelming. Somehow, I thought that might be crossing the line. I cleared my throat and forced myself to take a step back.
“I may have missed you.” I winked at her when she looked over her shoulder at me.
Sookie appeared to be weighing her options before she stood up to give me an answer. “I suppose I could stop by for a while. I have a few things to finish up here first, but I could meet you there in an hour.”
“We’ll be waiting.” I smiled again. I wanted to step forward and kiss her but decided it was best if I just left it at that.
She waved at me as I walked out of the room. I headed straight to the parking lot since I wasn’t really in any sort of condition to be walking around a high school the way I was. I was just about to get into my car when a voice called out to me that I only vaguely remembered.
“Eric?” I turned to see a woman in pressed khakis and a light blue sweater set coming toward me. Amelia.
“Amelia, right?” She smiled at me for knowing who she was.
“I’m surprised you remember. You were pretty taken with Sookie.” She lamented.
“Still am.” I confirmed for her in case that was why she was following me.
“Are you here to visit Sookie?”
“Nope, I’m on my way out, actually.” I opened the driver’s side door of the car.
“Nice ride.” Amelia looked impressed.
“Thank you.” I looked at the car with pride.
“Boys and their toys.” Amelia shook her head with a laugh. “My boyfriend, Tray, he’s into bikes, so I get it.”
“Oh yeah? What’s he drive?”
“Something makes a lot of noise and requires a cold shower after I ride it.” She grinned slyly. I decided right then that I liked her and Pam had missed out. I would have to rub that in later. I could tell Amelia wanted to ask about what I was doing at the school. Apparently, she hadn’t spoken with Sookie all day, nor had she seen me walking around campus.
“So, are you a teacher here as well?” I figured I’d get the ball rolling by asking about her, even if I already knew the answer.
“I am. I teach chemistry and AP chem.” She divulged.
“I was never good at that. Math was never my strong suit.” I confessed to her.
“What was your strong suit?”
“Athletics.” I pointed to the Duke emblem on the breast of my shirt.
“You went to Duke? That’s impressive. It’s not every day you find one with brains and beauty.”
Tell me about it. “I did. Class of 2001.”
“Huh.” Amelia nodded appreciatively. “So then you were a basketball player?”
“Still am, but not like I was. My knees are getting older before the rest of me.” That much was the honest to God truth. I could feel it a little more with each jump shot I took. It wasn’t the same at thirty-one as it was at eighteen.
“I hear that.” She sighed, though I couldn’t imagine she was much older than Sookie. “So what do you do these days?”
“These days I teach physical education.” I grinned at her and waited for her to figure it out.
“Get out of here! You took old man McCarthy’s place?” Her jaw about hit the floor. “Does Sookie know?”
“She found out this morning.” I said lamely.
“Ouch. Well, you seem to still have all of your skin, so that’s a good sign.” Amelia joked and stepped a bit closer to me. I really liked Amelia.
“There might still be a trip to the woodshed for me.” I wasn’t sure if Sookie was really okay with us working the same place.
Amelia took a deep breath and then looked me up and down. “Look, I know it’s not really my place to say anything about this and you can tell me to butt out if you want to. The thing is, Sookie got out of a relationship not too long ago where she sort of got lost in it. The guy did a number on her and strung her along for a few years thinking he might want to settle down and get married. When it became obvious that wasn’t going to happen, Sookie cut him loose. She’s a strong girl, but she’s still putting the pieces back together in a lot of ways. Right now the big thing for her is trust. Don’t fuck it up.”
“I’m doing my best not to.” I gave her an appreciative smile.
“See that you don’t. I would hate for one of my AP chem students to have a chemical spill so close to such a beautiful piece of machinery.” Amelia looked pointedly at my car and then winked at me before getting into the SUV parked next to mine.
I chuckled quietly and then got in my car. Yes, I definitely liked Amelia.
I was in the front yard with Jeter when Sookie’s car came to a stop across the street. Jeter dropped his drool covered tennis ball at my feet for me to throw it again. He was good enough to nudge me when I stared at Sookie a little too long. I bent to scoop up the ball and I tossed it across the yard. Jeter ran off barking to retrieve his toy. My eyes went back to Sookie who was wiggling her way toward me.
“So, I hear you had a lovely chat with Amelia?” Sookie arched an eyebrow at me as she got closer.
“I may have run into her in the parking lot.” I confirmed for her.
Sookie closed her eyes and shook her head. “I want to apologize now for any threats she may have made.”
I laughed and had to ask, “Does she threaten every guy who tries to date you?”
“Since we were fourteen. You don’t seem to scared of her, though.”
“Well I have no intention of doing anything to cause her to follow through on any threats she might have made.”
Sookie pressed her lips together and tucked some of her hair behind her ear. It was a bit wild thanks to me pulling the elastic band out to set it free. Her glasses were gone and I wondered if they were just an accessory. Yet another question to add to my list.
“You want to come inside? I was going to start dinner soon.”
“We’re having dinner tomorrow, remember?”
“Yes, I remember, but I’ve still got to eat tonight. Besides, who said I was inviting you to stay?” I teased her.
Her mouth hung open for just a second and then she took a deep breath. I had her and she knew it, but it was fun to watch her get flustered. “I suppose I could come in for a little while.”
“After you.” I gestured toward the porch steps. “Come on, Jeet!” I called the dog. He was sniffing around a tree three houses down but abruptly stopped to heed my call.
“He’s well trained.” Sookie said once Jeter and I were in the house.
“That’s all Johan’s doing.”
“My brother. He got Jeter when he was still a puppy. He was living in New York at the time, going to Columbia. He was a med student.” I explained to her.
“Was?” She arched an eyebrow.
“Half way through he dropped out to start a modeling and acting career.”
“Our parents weren’t exactly happy about it.”
“That’s understandable, I suppose. I guess it depends on why he was in med school to start with, though.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, was he there because it was what he wanted, or was he trying to appease your parents?”
“I think it was both. Johan is good with people and he hates to see others suffering. But he’s also a very creative person and there isn’t a whole lot of room for creativity in medicine.”
“True,” Sookie nodded and walked over to the fireplace. “Is this him?” She pointed to a family photo of Johan and I with our parents.
“Nope, that’s me.” I grinned at her.
She looked a little bit closer. “Oh get the fuck out of here! You’re identical twins?”
“Good God almighty.” She shook her head in disbelief.
“You sound disappointed.” I teased.
“You two don’t ever try to do that switcheroo thing, do you?” Sookie actually looked nervous.
“Switcheroo?” I couldn’t resist. She was too adorable.
“Yeah, you know, where you say that you’re Johan and he says he’s you?”
“Not with anyone who matters.” I shrugged and turned toward the kitchen.
“Whoa there, carbon copy!” She followed me to the kitchen with me laughing ahead of her. “So who have you done this with?”
While I began to pull ingredients from cabinets and the fridge, Sookie hopped up on the island to listen to me talk. I had just handed her a bottle of wine when she smoothly crossed her legs, her foot grazing my thigh as she did so. She winked at me and urged me to keep talking. I told her about how we’d fooled our camp counselors when we were younger. Johan had once tried to talk me into going to the dentist for him since he hated going and he’d found out he had a cavity he didn’t want to get filled because the sound of the drill made him crazy. He thought we could fool the dentist into thinking he’d already done the work since I’d had that tooth filled when we were twelve. Of course, that didn’t end up working out the way Johan planned.
“So you’ve never done that with girlfriends?” Sookie leaned forward, speaking over her wine glass.
“Definitely not. Physically, Johan and I look exactly alike but we have very different tastes in most things. Johan’s type isn’t my type.”
“So what’s Johan’s type?”
“Not intelligent, beautiful blonds with a good sense of humor.”
“Smooth, Casanova, very smooth.” She sipped her wine. “Need any help?”
“How are you at onion chopping?”
“Well that depends on how you want them cut. I can do a pretty decent dice on them.”
“You don’t have to be that fancy. I’m just caramelizing them for burgers.”
Sookie smiled over at me. “Ever try stuffing the cheese inside your burger?”
“Can’t say as I have.” I admitted.
“Oh, then I will have to make you burgers a la Sookie sometime.” She took the onion I offered to her.
“So then I’m guessing that won’t be on the menu tomorrow.”
“Nope, but I guess I should ask if you prefer white meat or dark meat. I only eat white meat chicken and it’s boneless, skinless.” Sookie informed me.
“That’s fine with me. Will you give me any other hints?”
“Not a one. You aren’t allergic to anything, are you? There’s nothing worse than making dinner for someone only to find out they’re allergic to some teeny tiny ingredient you might have used.”
“I have exactly two allergies: acetaminophin and bullshit.” I smiled at her.
Sookie laughed and plucked a knife from the butcher block. “Got a cutting board?”
“Don’t need one. The counters are granite, remember?”
“Ah yes, you have a fancy kitchen.” Sookie looked around with a hint of envy in her eyes. “Do you cook a lot?”
We talked while we did prep work and then Sookie followed me outside to the backyard with Jeter right behind us, hoping I’d drop something. While I got the grill going, Sookie took on the job of keeping Jeter entertained while we talked. More than once I looked over to see the Red Menace staring at Sookie and I out of one of her second story windows. I started to consider taking the grill up to the deck on the second floor. Red Menace wouldn’t be able to stare at us up there quite so easily.
Sookie cleared her throat and stepped closer to me. “Is it just me, or do we have an audience?”
I groaned and wanted to throw a rock at Red Menace’s window. “Sorry. She’s uh…she’s got it in her head that we should be a couple.”
Then Sookie surprised me by leaning around me and waving at Red Menace with a friendly smile on her face. When I turned to see if she was waving back, she was gone. The question, of course, was would she stay gone?
“You didn’t need to do that.”
“Sure I did. She was starting to bug me.” Sookie smiled up at me. “Besides, you said you aren’t interested in her. That’s reason enough for me to help you scare her off.”
“Are you sure it’s not a jealousy thing?” I smirked over at her.
Sookie wrestled Jeter for one of his toys before flinging it across the yard for him to go get. She set her wine glass down on the table next to the grill and turned her body toward mine. She looked me right in the eye and held my stare for a few seconds while she formulated her answer. I was a bit surprised by her answer.
“You think you’re a pretty big deal, don’t you?” If it weren’t for the coyness in her tone, I would have been worried.
I knew better than to answer that question myself so I said, “You tell me.”
Sookie looked me up and down and took a drink of her wine before saying anything. “In spite of having slept with you already, I don’t know if I can really answer that question.”
Ouch. That hurt a little, I’m not going to lie.
“Not that I didn’t enjoy myself, because I most certainly did.” Sookie blushed at her admission before continuing. “It’s just that there’s more to a person than their prowess, and while you certainly seem to have that part down, I don’t know about the rest of you yet.”
“Does that mean you’re curious?” I paid close attention to her face then, especially her eyes. She had very expressive eyes that spoke to me better than her words did.
“If I wasn’t curious I wouldn’t be here, and I definitely wouldn’t have agreed to dinner tomorrow.”
“Fair enough.” I nodded and opened the lid of the grill to flip the burgers over.
Sookie ended up staying for dinner and insisting on helping to help me clean up when we were done. Jeter sat at the table like a good little beggar, hoping one of us would drop something for him to hoover up before we could stop him. He was in heaven when Sookie tossed him a piece of her burger after getting my okay to do so.
“You’re never going to get rid of him if you spoil him too much.” I warned her.
“I like him.” She shrugged and then scratched his head.
When I pouted she leaned over and scratched my head the exact same way. “I like you, too.”
Her hand slid down to touch my cheek and there was a sweetness in her eyes that told me she was being honest with me. Sensing the right moment, I leaned over and kissed her. When I pulled back she giggled and said, “Mmm, onions.”
“Eh, at least we match.” She shrugged and then I kissed her again.
She shifted herself so that she was sitting in my lap and we were rapidly approaching a point of no return. Just as I was about to move my hands from her hair to her chest, she pulled away.
“We should go inside.” She was as breathless as I was.
We picked up our wine glasses and headed into the house. Jeter refused to follow us, but then I didn’t try real hard to get him in the house. He was having a good time running around the yard. Who was I to step on his buzz?
Sookie was standing in the living room when I came up behind her and encircled her waist. I leaned down so my mouth was close to her ear. “Can I just tell you that seeing you in pinstripes is incredibly sexy?” Sookie giggled quietly, keeping her head forward. “It’s going to be extremely difficult not to pull you into a vacant classroom and maul you.”
Sookie turned her head toward mine and looked up into my eyes. “We should probably set some ground rules about workplace displays of affection.”
“Of course.” I released her and went over to the couch to sit down. She followed and sat down beside me with her knees tucked underneath her.
“So, the way I see it, there’s no problem with us seeing one another. We don’t work in the same department. You’re not my boss. We might see more of one another once the basketball season starts since I coach the Poms squad, but that shouldn’t be an issue either since one doesn’t really have anything to do with the other. But we can’t be making out in classrooms or having sex in your office.” Sookie said firmly.
“What about in the janitor’s closet?” My eyebrows wiggled and she rolled her eyes.
She slapped at my arm and said, “Oh, sure, that’s okay.”
I laughed and said, “Sookie, we’re adults. I think we can control ourselves.”
She looked at me through her lashes and said. “I’m glad one of us is sure about that.”
Then she attacked me.