Chapter 2

“Come on, crazy girl, let’s let Sookie get some rest,” Tray says as he scoops up Amelia to carry her out to his truck. Thank fuck he didn’t come on his bike, or we’d be having some real problems right about now.

“But it’s Sookie’s birthday,” she slurs as she reaches for me.

“It’s okay, sweetie, you go with Tray now. I’ll be here tomorrow when you climb out from under your hangover,” I promise her.

She gives me a goofy grin and says, “I love you so much, best friend.”

“I know you do. I love you, too,” I smile at her and mouth a thank you to Tray for taking her off my hands for the night.

“Might as well get used to it,” Tray smirks, and glances down at the lovely engagement ring on Amelia’s finger.

“You’re not already?” I retort, and he chuckles while he carries Amelia out of the house.

The party was a success if you choose to look at the blowout Alcide and Debbie had as a humorous situation, or at the fact that at least Amelia made it to my kitchen sink before she puked instead of narfing all over the living room floor as a good thing. Tara went home a couple of hours ago after Mickey came and picked her up, having decided she’d had enough fun for one night. I tried to convince her to stay, but that didn’t happen. Of course, she doesn’t want to anger her dickface of a boyfriend.

“We’re out of here too, Sook,” Lafayette appears with Jesus at his side. “Are you sure you don’t want us to stick around and help clean up?”

“No, no, I got it. It’s actually not too bad,” I look around at the few abandoned plates and cups. It’s nothing that can’t be handled with a fresh trash bag and a half hour of my time.

“Thanks for having us,” Jesus steps forward first to give me a hug.

“Oh you’re welcome! Thank you for coming! We’ll have to do dinner like we talked about,” I tell Jesus. He offered to make me some authentic Mexican food and I am not the kind of girl who turns down a home cooked meal, especially when someone else is making it.

“Absolutely. As soon as my new schedule is posted I’ll give you a call,” he promises, and hands me off to Lafayette.

“Thanks for coming, honey,” I hug him tightly.

“You’re welcome, and girl… if you get freaky with the Viking,” Lafayette accurately dubbed Eric that about two minutes after meeting him. “Make sure you wrap it before he taps it.”

I slap his shoulder, but laugh all the same. “Thanks for the advice,” I kiss his cheek.

“Eric, it was nice to meet you,” Jesus extends a hand to Eric.

“Likewise,” Eric says and shakes hands with Jesus.

Lafayette gets a little friendlier than he should, but I know that’s just a test to see if Eric’s really okay with the gay thing or if he’s just putting up a front to impress a chick. Most of the guys around these parts steer clear of Lafayette like they’re afraid being gay is contagious. Eric, however, seems to take no issue with the hug that he’s offered, and that’s a bigger deal to Lafayette than it is to me.

“Sook, you should bring Eric to dinner with you,” Lafayette winks at me. He’s been saying for months (okay, maybe longer) that I need to get laid. He’s not necessarily wrong, but I don’t like being thrown at someone, even if that someone is a perfectly acceptable candidate.

I give Lafayette stabby eyes, but he doesn’t seem to care about that one bit. I know he’ll call me in the morning and tell me that he invited Eric for my own good and I need to get over myself. I’m hoping, however, that Jesus—who seems to have my back at least a little- will have talked some sense into my nosy friend. The concern for my love life really isn’t necessary.

“I’d like that,” Eric says with a polite smile.

“Come on, Laff, let’s get going,” Jesus reaches for his hand and starts to tug him toward the door.

“Thanks again for coming,” I say as I follow them.

“Anytime, Sook,” Lafayette wiggles his eyebrows at me, his faux eyelashes batting away like Scarlett O’Hara in a flirting fit.

I chuckle at his ridiculousness and watch Jesus pull him out the front door and down the porch steps. Eric stays behind, but I don’t mind. We didn’t get to talk nearly as much as I would have liked. It’s well after one in the morning, but I’m not really all that tired. I didn’t drink as much as I would have liked, but I was too busy running around being a good hostess to enjoy myself very much. Then there were the fires to put out between Alcide and Debbie, to say nothing of the crying jag Tara went on in the bathroom. Then Amelia started puking…

“So, are your parties always this action packed?” Eric asks once the car carrying my friends is headed up my driveway.

“Oh this was tame,” I laugh when I think about it. “We’ve mellowed in our old age.”

“You’re not old,” Eric rolls his eyes at me.

“Well no, I’m not, but next to you…” I trail off.

“I’m twenty-four, Sookie. It’s not that big of a difference,” he says, and follows me back to the kitchen.

I grab the garbage can and start to put the abandoned plates and chips I don’t want to save into it. Eric quietly starts to collect cups and bottles to empty them into the sink. I could tell him not to help me, but since he’s offering to do it I won’t say no. Besides, something tells me he’s like me in that he can’t sit still when there’s something that needs to be done.

“So, Eric, how’d you end up at Trader Joe’s?” I ask him.

“Well, after high school I joined the Marine Corps. I spent four years there, and when my enlistment was up I decided I wanted to go to college. The schedule at the store is flexible and lets me take the classes I want to take,” he says with a shrug. “What about you? What do you do for a living?”

“At the moment, I’m waitressing,” I confess to him. It’s not a forever sort of thing. Come August I’ll be getting back into my classroom to set up for the new school year and I’ll start cutting my hours back. Lucky for me Sam allows me to pick up some shifts over the summer to supplement my missing income.

“Do you like it?” Eric asks me.

“There are worse things I could be doing,” I say as I dump a bunch of pita chips into the garbage. I got them specifically for Amelia, who recently developed this love of hummus. Ick. “And it’s only temporary. I only do it during the summer months, so I’ve only got another month and a half of it before I get back to my regular job.”

Eric nods and a nervous expression takes over his face before he says, “I need to tell you something.”

“Okay,” I stop what I’m doing and set down the garbage can.

He takes a deep breath and says, “This morning wasn’t the first time I ever saw you.”

I arch an eyebrow and say, “If this is your way of saying you stalk me…”

He laughs nervously and says, “No, nothing like that. I um… this is kind of embarrassing…”

It’s actually rather endearing to see him get flustered with the way his cheeks get a little pink and he keeps dragging his hand through his hair.

“Eric, unless you’re going to tell me you were born a woman, I think we’re going to be fine,” I say reassuringly.

“No, I promise all of my parts are my own,” he says with somewhat of a cocky smirk that makes my cheeks flush a bit.

“So what is it that you have to tell me?” I ask, and reach into the fridge for a beer. I offer one to Eric as well and he takes it from me quickly.

I swear he damn near chugs the whole thing before he gets his wits about him enough to finally say what he needs to say. “Okay, so the first time I saw you was the third day of school my senior year of high school,” he confesses, and my eyes go wide. “You were wearing this gray dress with white stripes on the skirt and this lacy stuff on the top. You had glasses on, and you were carrying a Cheshire Cat coffee mug and a copy of The Great Gatsby.”

I gasp, remembering that day quite clearly. Not only because of the particular dress he recalled, but because I remember nearly being knocked over by a tree of a boy coming out of the bathroom without looking. When I think about it, I realize that boy was Eric.

“Holy shit,” I mutter, and plop down into a chair.

“When I found out you were only teaching freshmen I was bummed. I thought maybe for once I’d actually pay attention in English,” Eric confesses to me, and takes a seat to my right at the table.

I think back to the boy that nearly bowled me over, and even though Eric is just as tall as he was then, he doesn’t really look the same. The boy that ran into me in the hallway was kind of awkward in his own skin with shaggy, greasy hair that looked like it hadn’t been washed or brushed in about three days. His clothes didn’t fit him quite right. He was wearing glasses. His skin hadn’t cleared up and he was definitely thinner than the man sitting beside me. Yet, I can see that same person still inside Eric when I look into his eyes.

“I had no idea,” I shook my head. “I can’t believe you remember me from all that time ago.”

His cheeks get a little redder when he says, “I’ve thought about you a lot.”

“You have?” This surprises me.

“Yeah,” he nods, and sips his beer. “The copy of the book you were reading, when I ran into you, you dropped it. I stopped to pick it up,” he recalls and I remember him being polite enough to do that, as well as apologizing for the spilled coffee. “I saw your name was written across the top of the book, and the spine was all creased so I figured it had to be one of your favorite books, and not just something you read because of school.”

“Smart boy,” I smiled at him. “That is one of my favorite books.”

“I think I read it about a dozen times while I was overseas,” he confesses to me.

“Did you?” I ask, not because I don’t believe him, but because I’m surprised.

He nods and says, “I would read it over and over, trying to figure out what words you might have committed to memory.”

“Why Eric, did you have a crush on me?” I tease him, but the look I get in return tells me that he did… maybe he still does.

“Every day I would walk down the hallway. Sometimes you would smile in my direction, but I didn’t know if you were smiling for me or not. I would tell myself that you did, because even if it wasn’t true you had still smiled. I found myself keeping an eye out for the books you carried around because every time I read one I saw you with, I was always pleasantly surprised,” he tells me, and I feel something in my chest get a little tighter with every confession he drops on me. “You didn’t know it, Sookie, but you inspired me. You’re this beautiful, smart woman who doesn’t shy away from her intelligence, and no matter what you always had a smile on your face. I never saw you have a bad day, even though I’m sure you’ve had your share. When I had free time at night when I was in the Marines, I would read one of the books I saw you with and I didn’t feel lonely anymore because I thought maybe, just maybe, you were somewhere in the world reading the same words I was, and maybe you didn’t feel lonely anymore either.”

By the time he finishes speaking I’ve got tears on my cheeks and a smile on my face. No one has ever said anything as sweet to me as Eric just did. There’s a part of me that is completely stunned that I had that sort of impact on someone I didn’t say much more than hello to. If that was all it took to affect him that much… my mind is just blown by the concept.

The only thing I can think of to do is lean over and kiss him softly. There are no words coming to me at the moment to explain how I feel, so a kiss is going to have to suffice. When my lips meet his, however, I find that that is better than any words I could have said anyway. My hand sneaks up and holds the back of his neck gently. The kiss grows slowly until I find myself shifting over to straddle his lap.

The shy, awkward boy that nearly ran me over six years ago is gone, replaced by a man who knows precisely how to kiss and is damn good at it. His long fingers ease the elastic from the end of my braid, and slowly unweave my hair so his fingers can tangle in it, and strong arms pull me closer to him. My hips get closer to his, but even if they hadn’t gotten as close as they do, I still would have felt the effects of the kiss in his cargo shorts. It turns out Eric had every reason to give me that cocky smirk before when he talked about the parts he has.

When I break the kiss I look into his eyes and quote, “I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others-young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.”

He smiles at me while he tucks a strand of hair behind my ear. “So even though we didn’t know it, in some strange way we were together.”

I nod, and then close the slight distance between us to kiss him again. Only this time we don’t stop. It’s crazy and maybe a rash decision, but it feels like the right thing. I don’t know how I feel about Eric, but I want to be closer to him. Yes, the respectable thing to do is to probably go on a bunch of dates and get to know each other better. There’s always the chance this is just something he’s wanted for so long that one night is all I’ll get out of it, but maybe that’s enough.

When he stands up I wrap my legs around him, but the kiss doesn’t break. He stumbles through my house with me mumbling which way to go against his lips. When we reach my bedroom he puts me down gently on my bed and settles himself on top of me. His hips grind against mine, and I finally break the kiss just long enough to pull his t-shirt off. I sit up enough so he can take mine off too, and then we get right back to the kissing.

I don’t know how long we spend on my bed making out and feeling each other up, but I enjoy every second of it. Eric is definitely not the skinny, awkward boy I remember. His time in the Marine Corps did amazing things for his body. He’s chiseled without being too built. There’s just the right amount of definition to make me bite my lower lip when I look at him, and there’s definitely some damage done to my unsuspecting panties as well. His lips are velvet soft to the touch, but firm when he uses them.

When my hips start to move up off the bed to rub against his in hopes of getting a little more friction, Eric starts to move his kisses down my neck to my chest. His large hands ease down the cups of my bra, and his tongue swirls around my nipple before his lips close and he sucks it into his mouth. My back arches and my hands find their way into his hair to hold him to my chest. My hips are still moving, but I’m not finding what I need. His head moves to the other side to give the other breast the same treatment.

Slowly he works his way down my stomach, placing open mouth kisses as he goes, pausing to blow cool breaths so he can watch the goose bumps rise on my skin. I sit up just enough to get my bra off so it’s not in the way anymore, and when Eric gets to the waistline of my leggings, his eyes find mine to ask for permission to continue. I nod my head and reach down to touch his cheek gently. He nuzzles my hand for just a moment, and then he kisses me from one hip to the other before he tugs my leggings down. My hips lift for him, and once my leggings are gone I’m left in my tiny black panties.

Eric kisses his way back up my leg, all the way to the inner part of my upper thigh. I can feel his breath against my panties and my body shakes. It’s been too long since I was last with someone, and I consider the possibility that maybe I should tell Eric about this. But then he’s kissing me over my panties and all those thoughts disappear. He takes his time and waits until my hips are writhing again before he moves to get my panties off.

Again I lift my hips for him and he slides them off. His eyes are on mine and now that I’m completely naked, he takes me in slowly. His eyes scan every hill, valley, scar, beauty mark and everything else they can. I don’t feel at all insecure laying there like that before him. It’s hard to feel that way with the way he’s looking at me. He’s had six years to think about what I might look like naked, which I admit makes me a bit nervous because what if the real me doesn’t live up to the fantasy version, but there’s nothing I can do about that.

Eric covers me with himself, pinning my hands beside my head as he says, “You’re even more beautiful than I remembered, or imagined, Sookie.”

His lips brush over mine so gently I’m not even sure it happens, but then he kisses me again a little more passionately. When I feel his fingers at the inside of my thigh, I moan into his mouth. I gasp when his fingers move to my folds, which are definitely slick with my arousal from all of the kissing. My hands travel down his back only to trail up again, and I feel him shiver a little as his finger rubs against my clit.

His mouth moves to my neck, nipping, sucking, licking, kissing me while his finger starts to rub circles around my clit. I pull his face back to mine for one more kiss before he breaks it off, and he moves down to settle himself between my thighs again. My legs spread wider for him to give him plenty of room, and the first swipe of his tongue runs along the length of my slit. He groans and spreads me open. I prop myself up on my elbows and look down at him. Our eyes meet as he licks me again, and then his tongue flicks over my clit. My eyes roll a bit but he doesn’t stop.

When my hips start to writhe and move against his face, Eric holds me down with one hand while his lips fasten around my clit. His finger teases my entrance, circling it slowly and letting it collect some of my juices before he slides it inside me. My eyes get wider and I gasp at the sensation.

He growls and releases my clit long enough to say, “Jesus, you’re tight.”

“It’s been a while,” I confess breathlessly.

“Unacceptable,” he growls again, and resumes sucking and flicking my clit while his finger pumps in and out slowly.

He adds another finger a short time later, and my body stretches to take it. I can only imagine what it’ll feel like when it’s his cock since I already feel pretty full, and I know what I felt when we were in the kitchen. Eric takes his time, slowly coaxing my orgasm out of its hiding place. When I come, I grasp the comforter and moan loudly with my eyes squeezed shut. Eric keeps pumping his fingers in and out slowly, twisting and scissoring them to stretch me more. When he finally pulls his fingers out he licks them clean, and places one more gentle kiss on the inside of my thigh before he stands up to take off his shorts.

My eyes lock on his while he unbuttons his shorts. I wait until I hear them hit the floor to look down. He’s gone commando, but I suspected as much while we were making out. My hands had cheated a little and slipped down the back of his shorts, only to find nothing but skin there. He’s big everywhere, and the sight of him completely naked makes my girly bits flutter in excitement and anticipation.

I’ve never slept with someone that I’ve only known for a few hours, but it still doesn’t feel wrong to me. I sit up and move to the edge of my bed. My fingers run through the blond hair on his thighs and slowly move upward. I look up into his eyes as I lean forward to kiss his stomach. The eye contact is intense but I can’t seem to look anywhere else. My left hand moves around his waist and slides down a little to feel his ass. Cheeks up, it’s the best ass I’ve ever felt, not that I’ve felt many in my lifetime. My right hand, however, wraps around his cock and my fingers don’t quite touch.

His eyes get darker as I start to stroke him, and when I lick the tip of his erection, his body shakes again. I wonder how many times he’s thought about this moment in six years. I wonder what he imagined it would be like if he ever found himself in this situation, and it only makes me want to do it more. His large hand caresses my head and holds my hair back so it will stay out of my eyes. I keep looking up at him as my mouth opens wider to take him in.

Eric growls as I take him deeper into my mouth. My hands continue to stroke what I can’t get in my mouth, but he doesn’t seem to mind that at all. My head bobs in tandem with my hand stroking him, twisting a little bit to change up the sensations. I never stop looking up into his eyes, and it isn’t long before he gently pulls away from me.

“Condom?” he asks hoarsely.

“Night stand,” I point to his right, and he turns to retrieve one from the drawer.

I scoot back on the bed and watch him get the condom on. Once he does he gets up on my bed and sits with his back against the headboard. I straddle his lap and lean forward to kiss him. My hips rock against his, and Eric’s hands settle on my hips to guide me back and forth. My breasts press against his chest, and his hands move around to cup my ass.

The kiss breaks and he asks, “Are you sure you want to do this?”

I nod and lift myself up a little. I look down between our bodies just long enough to find his erection. Eric moves me into position with his hands, and I run the head of his cock up and down my slit a few times before putting him at my opening. I bite my bottom lip as I start to sink down. He’s big enough that I have to go slowly, inch by inch, and when he’s only half way in I feel his thumb rubbing slow circles around my clit. My eyes lock on his again, and Eric leans forward to kiss me.

All the extra stimulation makes it easy for me to take him in the rest of the way, but I pause when my hips are flush with his. His hand moves to my hip, and the other holds the back of my head when I start to move up and down slowly. His head dips down and he sucks on one of my nipples for a moment before moving to the other, and my hips rock against him. The pressure in my belly starts to build, and my hips move faster.

Eric rolls us over suddenly, and my hands go right to his backside to pull him deeper inside me. My hips rise to meet his, and when he kisses me again it steals what little breath I have. His pubic bone grinds against my clit, and the closer I get to coming, the louder my moans get. I’m relieved I’m not the only one making noise, and find that all of the growls, groans and grunts that escape Eric are incredibly sexy. His hips pound against mine, and when he reaches between us to rub my clit I assume that he’s close to coming too.

“Come for me, Sookie,” he growls in my ear and I know I’m right. He pinches my clit just a little and it sends me over the edge.

“Eric!” I shout and grab his ass hard enough that it’s entirely possible that it might leave bruises.

A few more hard thrusts later, and Eric comes as well with a roar of his own, and then collapses on top of me. My hands move up his back slowly and start to run through his hair. A part of me wants to know what he’s thinking about, but there’s another part of me that feels guilty because I’m pretty sure what just happened means something different to him than it does to me. I don’t know what to make of it, quite honestly, and it’s a slightly awkward conversation to have.

I wouldn’t mind getting to know Eric better, but I don’t know if I want a relationship either. It occurs to me that I may have just used him and I feel a sinking sensation in my stomach. Eric peppers kisses along my collarbone and up my neck until he reaches my lips. I kiss him back because I like kissing him, and even though we just finished, his hips grind against mine again. I moan when an aftershock ripples its way through me, and Eric reluctantly pulls out of me to get rid of the condom.

He goes to the en suite bathroom to dispose of it, and then comes back to my bed. I turn onto my side and he stretches out next to me. Again he tucks some of my hair behind my ear, and he’s smiling at me like he just won the lottery. My conscience starts to get the better of me, and before I can stop myself I start to ramble.

“Please don’t take this the wrong way because that was amazing, and I think you’re great, but I don’t know what I want right now. I’m not very good at the relationship thing, and you seem like such a good guy and I don’t want to destroy the image you have of me in your head. She seems like an amazing person, and I don’t know if I can live up to that,” I tell him quickly.

Eric props himself up on one elbow so he can lean over me a little bit, and turns my face so I have no choice but to look at him. He leans down and kisses me softly on my lips, and then once on each of my closed eyes before he says, “You’re a million times better than her.”

“You don’t even know me,” I argue with him. “Reading the same books I do doesn’t mean you know who I am.”

“I happen to disagree, but I want to know more about you, Sookie. I’ve always wanted to know more. I just wasn’t in a position to learn it back then,” he says. “But if this is it, I’m not sorry it happened.”

“I’m not either,” I admit, and let him pull me closer to him.

I listen to the steady, yet wild thudding of his heart in his chest, and stay awake long after he falls asleep. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the morning, but I’ll find out soon enough. Slowly my mind starts to shut down, and eventually, I fall asleep wrapped in Eric’s arms.


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