Remind Me

I was running late. I should have been home ten minutes ago but there was always one more thing that needed to be done at the office. There were emails that needed to be answered, calls that should be returned, reports to sign off on… it was endless. I forced myself to stop. Tonight was important for Sookie and I had promised her I would be there. Besides, I could answer emails from my Blackberry.

I glanced at the picture frame on my desk and it was hard to believe that five years had passed since that picture was taken. Our wedding was nothing terribly fancy. When Sookie suggested we bet married in Vegas, I thought she was a little crazy. Or maybe pregnant. Neither was the case, we were just that crazy in love with each other. From the minute I saw her, I knew she was the one. Until her, I didn’t even believe in the concept, which was what told me she was it.

Five years later I still loved her as much as I ever did, there were just other things that got in the way. It had been a while since we’d done much of anything together aside from the usual, boring married couple stuff. We’d go to dinner with the neighbors to our right, also a married couple. We didn’t have kids yet so what free time we had we should have been spending with each other.

Instead Sookie was taking a dance class and going to her book club. I was working far too many hours and by the time I got home most nights, Sookie was usually either asleep or headed up to bed. On the weekends we would have dinner with her Gran or her brother and his wife. Jason and Crystal were expecting their first child in a matter of weeks. Sookie was excited about being an aunt and even though she hadn’t said anything about it, I suspected she was thinking seriously about when we were going to start having kids.

Since we were still in college when we got married, we had agreed it was too soon to start trying. A lot had changed in the last five years. Sookie was happily teaching English to middle school aged kids and had taken on the role of directing the spring play, which was why I needed to get my ass home pronto. I had promised her I would be there for opening night.

Halloween 2005

Dude, you haven’t blinked in like, three minutes. What gives?” Alcide nudged me when I didn’t stop staring at the gorgeous blonde that had just walked into the party. “Earth to Northman,” he waved his hand in front of my face.

It was useless; I was already gone. I had no idea what the girl’s name was or why I hadn’t seen her before that moment but just looking at her was enough for me to know I wanted to know everything about her. But then some douchey Rhett Butler looking motherfucker hugged her from behind and when she turned around to face him, she kissed him. Of course she was taken. A girl that looked like her wouldn’t be single for long.

She was dressed appropriately in an angel costume. A pretty white dress, glittery wings, silvery makeup around her eyes and there was even a halo perched on her head. Her eyes were a stunning shade of blue that I could make out even from where I was standing. The guy she was with didn’t seem right. You know how you can look at couples and you can just tell they’re wrong for each other? It was like that with this girl and whoever it was she was with. They just didn’t fit.

Maybe it wasn’t serious. I would never know unless I went over and introduced myself. Luckily for me, she was talking to a girl that was in one of my marketing classes. I made my way through the crowd, grabbed a fresh beer and hoped I didn’t make a complete fool of myself.

I tapped Pam on her shoulder and she smirked when she realized I was standing there. “You are not standing in front of me in a Jesus costume right now,” Pam looked me up and down.

Yes I am,” I smiled back at her.

Unbelievable. What the hell ever possessed you to dress up like the Holy Ghost?” Pam wasn’t exactly religious. Neither was I, but I figured it would raise a few eyebrows.

Because women keep telling him he’s God in bed,” Alcide volunteered from behind me.

My eyes went to Angel’s, curious to see her reaction. She nearly choked on her drink while Pam was back to rolling her eyes. I didn’t know if I wanted to punch Alcide in the balls or hug him.

You’re that good?” Angel asked me, much to my surprise.

Why don’t you judge for yourself?” I suggested and the lift of her eyebrows told me she was intrigued instead of offended. I liked her already.

You’re cocky, aren’t you?” she looked me up and down with a hint of sass in her voice.

A little bit,” I saw no reason to lie to her.

Got a name, or should I just call you Jesus? Maybe I should scream it,” she suggested and it was Pam’s turn to choke on her drink.

It could be good practice,” I smirked at her.

His name is Eric,” Pam volunteered for me and then turned to me. “Her name is Sookie. There, now you’re properly introduced.”

♦ ♦ ♦

As I was walking out of the office my cell phone started to buzz in my jacket pocket. I dug the phone out and winced to see that it was Sookie calling, probably wondering where the fuck I was. I was so late.

“I’m on my way, I promise; I just lost track of time,” I said when I picked up the call.

“Dinner’s waiting when you get here. I’ll be upstairs getting ready,” she said, her tone just as business-like as my own.

“I’ll be home soon,” I promised her and we hung up. I couldn’t remember the last time we said we loved each other on the phone.

The day after Thanksgiving 2005

She tasted like butter and mint thanks to the popcorn and Junior Mints she combined together. I thought it was a bizarre combination but Sookie swore by it, and really, it wasn’t that bad. Since I didn’t give a single fuck about the movie that was playing, I concentrated on her. Making out with Sookie was far more appealing than what we were watching anyway. Sookie had picked the movie and as sexy as Jennifer Aniston was, she had nothing on Sookie.

My hand snaked up her shirt, hoping no one would notice. She gasped in surprise as my hand inched closer and closer to her breast. She had the most amazing breasts I’d ever seen, and I’d seen quite a few. They fit perfectly in the palm of my hand and I had big hands. I brushed my thumb over her nipple at the same time I plunged my tongue into her mouth and she moaned. How rude would it be to just get up and walk out?

All I wanted was to pull her clothes off and fuck her senseless right there in the middle of the theater. I didn’t care who was watching. Why we had thought we could get out of bed for the running length of the film, I had no idea. From the night we met we were damn near inseparable. The number of quickies we’d had between classes since then was astronomical. I was addicted to her and I knew she felt the same way.

I broke the kiss and found her ear in the darkness to whisper into it. “I wonder how wet you are right now, lover. If I put my hand down your pants I bet you would be soaked. How easily could I fuck you with my fingers?”

She just whimpered while my fingers continued to tease her nipples. If I kept this up she would attack me in the car out in the parking lot. We wouldn’t even make it back to the dorms. I took her hand and put it on my cock. I was so fucking hard it was almost painful.

Do you feel what you do to me, Sookie? I want to be inside you right now. I want to feel your tight, wet pussy gripping my cock while I fuck you,” I told her, knowing dirty talk always got her engine revving.

She was the kind of girl who looked like she wouldn’t hurt a fly, like she’d just come from teaching Sunday school or feeding the homeless. There was something almost saintly about her in the way she presented herself to everyone. No one would suspect she was the kind of girl who loved it when I tore off her clothes, bent her over the arm of my futon and fucked her hard from behind until she screamed. She liked when I was rough with her just as much as she liked when we took our time and were gentle and teasing with each other. There wasn’t anything about her I wasn’t 100% crazy about.

Do you want me to fuck you?” I bit her ear and she just whimpered again, her hand moving over my cock, trying to stroke me over my too tight jeans. “Tell me, Sookie.”

I want…” she trailed off and sucked on my neck for a moment to keep from making too much noise in the theater.

Tell me, lover,” I tried again and backed off her a little.

I want you to fuck me,” she said against my skin.

I growled quietly and reclaimed her lips with mine. Sookie twisted around and ended up in my lap. Apparently she’d forgotten we weren’t alone in the theater. We were, however, in the back row so at least we didn’t need to worry about the people behind us.

A throat cleared and I was tapped on the shoulder. It so wasn’t the time to interrupt me. I broke the kiss that had been going on for what felt like the last ten minutes and Sookie immediately buried her face in my neck when she realized it was a theater employee who had interrupted us.

We’ve gotten several complaints that you’re… We’re going to have to ask you to leave,” the man said.

Sookie and I exchanged a look and shrugged. She straightened up her shirt and grabbed her coat. With my hand hidden under her jacket no one knew I had it down the back of her pants, resting against her perfect ass. We couldn’t get to the car fast enough.

♦ ♦ ♦

Of all the nights for traffic to be a clusterfuck, it had to be the night of Sookie’s play. I only lived a few miles away from the office. Usually it took ten minutes to get home, and that was in extremely heavy traffic. I’d been behind the wheel for almost fifteen minutes and I hadn’t moved. If I could get to the left lane I could make a U-turn and take a different route home. It would take me out of my way but at least I’d be on the move.

I was dangerously close to hitting the steering wheel in frustration when a text message came through. Sookie again.

Sookie: Where are you? You better not be back in your office. Hurry up.

I sighed and typed a quick text back to her.

Me: Traffic is fucked. Be home ASAP.

I could imagine her in the bathroom at home putting her makeup on or doing something with her hair, mumbling curses under her breath the way she did when she got angry. She was probably listening to shitty pop music in attempts to keep her bad mood at bay, all the while plotting how she would punish me later for my tardiness. Sookie looked sweet but I knew about her sadistic side. She could hold a grudge with the best of ’em.

December 2005

It’s only four days, Sookie,” I tried to soothe her and tuck her hair behind her ears. She was a mess. Truthfully, I didn’t want her to go either but it was Christmas. “You didn’t go home for Thanksgiving. You can’t keep dodging your family forever.”

I know, I’m just going to miss you so much,” she looked up at me with the saddest eyes in the world, big tears rolling down her flushed cheeks.

I’m going to miss you too,” I promised her.

Missing her would be an understatement. We hadn’t even been dating for two full months yet but it felt like we’d been together our whole lives. It was impossible for me to see a future without her in it. When she wasn’t around it felt like something was missing. Just her simple presence made my world a better place. I was in love with her. Hopelessly and maybe even recklessly, but I didn’t care.

I love you,” I said because it felt like the right thing to say. I’d never said it before.

I love you too,” she answered and then we leaned at the same time to kiss each other.

We weren’t gentle about it. No doubt we would have bruised lips and sore tongues by the time we were finished. I never would have imagined the angel I met was full of as much passion as Sookie was. The need I felt for her was almost primal. I couldn’t get enough of her. We could be in bed for hours, alternately fucking, making love or talking and it was never enough. She accused me of wanting to crawl inside her entirely and she wasn’t exactly wrong. I would if I could, if only for a little while.

The final boarding call for her flight sounded overhead. We should have stopped. Just four days wasn’t that long and she hadn’t been home since the previous summer. I knew whether or not she wanted to say it out loud that she was looking forward to seeing her parents. She missed them as much as she missed her brother and her grandmother. I wanted her to have her time with them. She’d mentioned that she was seeing someone but she hadn’t told them it was serious. Admitting that we were in love with each other gave us a violent shove into serious.

My hand twisted in her hair when I should have been pulling away from her. I just couldn’t stop kissing her. She pulled me closer to her, rubbing herself against my crotch—as if I wasn’t hard enough already. My case of blue balls was going to be epic, but entirely worth it. God, I loved her.

By the time we finally stopped kissing, the plane had pulled away from the gate. She’d missed her flight. Fuck.

I’m sorry, Sookie,” I sighed, disappointed in myself for not having the will power to let her go when I should have.

She smiled at me and shook her head. “You don’t need to apologize,” she raised my hand to her lips and kissed my knuckles. “This just means we have one more night.”

One more night.

♦ ♦ ♦

I was just approaching the turn for our neighborhood when another text came in. Sookie got impatient waiting for me and had already left. I growled in frustration. I wasn’t angry at her; I was angry at myself. She’d been talking about the play since it was first suggested she direct it. I’d heard countless stories over dinner or while we were running errands together.

As soon as Sookie had given me the date for opening night, I’d put it into my Blackberry so I wouldn’t miss it. I wanted to be there for her. It was important to her, which made it important to me. I couldn’t believe I’d lost track of time like I did. I raced to the floral section and looked for anything but straight up roses. Sookie loved flowers in general but I’d made it a point to never get her roses.

I picked a bouquet of Calla Lilies that included white, mauve and wine colored flowers. It looked remarkably similar to the bouquet she’d carried at our wedding and I hoped she would notice that. Knowing Sookie, she absolutely would. She had a good memory when it came to the little things. I paid for the flowers and then rushed back to the floral section to grab a little card to put inside the flowers.

On the short drive over to the school I considered what to write on the little card. Space was limited and I didn’t want to write something she wouldn’t be able to understand. I found a parking space at the far end of the lot and then rushed toward the school. If I was lucky, I would make it inside before the curtain went up.

March 2006

Eric, this is amazing,” Sookie said when we stepped into our suite. For the next four days it was home.

We were staying in the Piazza suite at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. With finals coming up in just a couple of weeks and then the pressure of finding real jobs looming ahead of that, we’d decided we were going to really enjoy our last spring break before being thrust into full fledged adulthood. What better place to spend it than Las Vegas?

Can you believe that by this time tomorrow night we’ll be married?” Sookie wrapped her arms around me.

Yeah, we were getting married. We decided we would just go ahead and do it while we were in Las Vegas. We hadn’t told a soul we were doing it. We knew our friends and family would try to talk us out of it. They would all say it was too fast and we didn’t know one another well enough to be making a decision like that but they were wrong. I loved Sookie; I loved her more than I ever could have imagined the night I met her.

I never got tired of her. I could probably live without her but I didn’t want to. Why put off what we already knew was going to happen for us? I wanted her forever. I saw no reason to delay the inevitable and neither did she. The trip to Vegas had been my idea. We’d talked about marriage and what we were going to do after college was over. Moving in together was a given, but once we settled on Las Vegas as our spring break destination, it was Sookie who suggested we just go ahead and get married. It didn’t happen the way I thought it would but it was perfect for us. Nothing about our relationship had really been all that conventional from the night we met. Why should getting engaged be any different?

I didn’t have a ring since I hadn’t planned on asking her; it was a spur of the moment thing but it felt right. The next day she’d checked out a nearby thrift store and found an old wedding dress that she fell in love with. It just happened to fit her perfectly so she bought it. I packed a suit to wear and the day before we left for Las Vegas we bought rings. While she was in the bathroom I picked out an engagement ring I planned to give her over dinner. She’d said she didn’t need it but I wanted her to have it.

Just like Sookie, the ring was a one of a kind. The white gold band was encrusted with diamonds and there was a champagne pearl at the center that was also surrounded by diamonds. It was simple without being too plain. Sookie had always said big rings were gaudy and gross. She had no desire whatsoever to wear a ring like everyone else’s. If she didn’t smack me for buying her a ring after saying not to, I was sure was going to love it.

Tomorrow is going to be a very good day, Miss Stackhouse,” I kissed her softly.

I felt her smile against my lips and she said, “You better call me that while you still can because after tomorrow, I won’t be a Stackhouse anymore.”

No, you definitely won’t,” I said and kissed her again.

For as modern as Sookie was in a lot of ways there were other things she was very traditional about and she took it seriously. I’d told her she didn’t have to take my last name if she didn’t want to after I caught her practicing her signature, but she had looked at me like I was nuts. That was pretty much the entire conversation. Well, aside from her telling me that trying to hyphenate Stackhouse and Northman would be a nightmare. I couldn’t disagree with her there. That was a lot of letters combined.

So what do you want to do first?” I asked when the kiss broke.

I want to get out of these clothes and do all the things we’re probably not supposed to do eighteen hours before we get married,” Sookie looked me up and down, biting her bottom lip. I loved the way she thought.

♦ ♦ ♦

The curtain went up about ten seconds after I took my seat. I’d hoped to find Sookie’s face somewhere before the show began so I could wish her good luck but she was probably backstage. I took in the beautifully painted sets that I had actually helped her design since I was a better artist than Sookie. We had done some of the painting in our own garage. I wasn’t a master painter by any standards but I did decently enough with a brush.

Lights came up on the stage and the bars of the opening song began to play. I could imagine Sookie in the wings of the stage, getting everyone ready for their cue, making sure costumes and makeup were just right before sending her performers out. She had been stressing over the play for weeks. She wanted it to be absolutely perfect and I wanted that for her.

I wanted her to be pleased with how the play turned out. Sookie had worked so hard on it and I didn’t want her to feel like she’d failed when nothing could be further from the truth. The sets looked amazing and she’d spent hours rehearsing the play with her kids. She had the damn thing memorized. I was sure I’d heard her running lines under her breath while she was doing dishes one morning. She’d spent hours working on the musical arrangements and even though Sookie couldn’t sing to save her life, she’d slaved over the songs to make sure they would be perfect.

If there was one thing I knew about Sookie, it was that she never did anything half way. She was the all in kind of woman and once she committed to something she gave 110%. I felt like a tool for losing track of time. I should have gotten to home to see her before the play.

June 2006

It wasn’t much but the place was ours. Our first home as a married couple was a crappy apartment located over a bakery. The place smelled of butter cream and yeast at all times. It was an oddly pleasant smell. The important thing was that it was something we could afford with the money we were making. Sookie had taken a temporary job teaching pre-school aged kids in a day care center until she was able to find a permanent teaching position. I was starting out at a marketing firm in a position that was just a hair above being an intern.

Neither of us was making much money but we were together. We were making enough money to pay our bills—most of which would be college loans we would have to start paying in the fall. Our parents helped us out with furniture and things like that but mostly we wanted to do it all on our own. I’d taken my old bed from my parents’ house since Sookie’s was too small. Being my height a full size bed wasn’t really going to work for me in the long run.

We settled into our apartment and jobs pretty easily. I left Sookie in charge of setting up the apartment since I didn’t really care what went where. We spent hours moving things around and trying them out in different places. I would get frustrated because I didn’t get why it mattered; she would get annoyed with me for not caring. We fought about the usual newlywed things and navigated the growing pains of sharing a space.

I was a minimalist who didn’t see the necessity for little knickknacks or decorations all over the place. Sookie was a neat freak who was forever trailing me with a dust buster because she claimed I left chip crumbs everywhere. We would fight, yell and get on each other’s nerves only to compromise, make up and fuck our brains out. It was the perfect system and regardless of what anyone might have said about us being able to make it last, I knew she was it.

The downside to my job was the fact that I was pretty much at the mercy of the senior employees. I got stuck doing a lot of the grunt work but I was willing to pay my dues. If I stuck with it, eventually I would qualify for a promotion. So I spent a lot of time putting together presentations and doing all the copy work the more experienced guys didn’t want to do. I was the one usually stuck late at the office doing the last minute shit. Because of that there were plenty of nights when I got home and Sookie was already out cold after having chased four-year-olds around all day.

But on the nights that I was able to get home in time to have dinner with her we usually ended up vegged out on the couch afterward, fighting for the remote so I wouldn’t end up getting stuck watching the Food Network, or so she wouldn’t end up watching Spike TV. I loved my wife but she had horrible taste in television shows. We usually ended up compromising by watching reruns of one sitcom or another, which led to boredom, which led to making out and forgetting all about the TV anyway.

One night in particular I remembered sitting up in bed, reading a previously unreleased journal Kurt Cobain had written, when Sookie came out of the bathroom. If we wore clothes to bed at all, I was usually in boxers and Sookie would sleep in one of my old t-shirts. It was a habit I encouraged. That night, however, she was wearing a slinky red satin thing that was just begging to be pulled off by a horny husband.

Sookie got into bed next to me like it was any other night. She leaned against me and asked,” What’cha readin’?”

I was too mesmerized by the gaps in her lingerie to pay attention to what she was asking and she ended up pulling off my reading glasses and slipping them on her own face so she could peek at my book. Fuck. What was she doing to me? She said something else but I was too busy plotting my plan of attack to formulate an answer.

“Eric?” She waved a hand in front of me.

I took the book from her and threw it on the floor while I attacked her. She squealed and laughed as I pulled her down. She returned my kisses and was willing to oblige me when I told her to keep my glasses on. She looked fucking hot in them.

“I thought you had an early meeting?” Sookie gasped when my hand traveled up her thigh and I sucked gently on her neck.

“I do,” I nibbled on her ear.

“If we start now…” She trailed off.

“I’ll make sure you finish,” I promised her and she moaned.

She was wearing panties. Those had to go. I’d have to go back for them. At the moment I was determined to get my hands on her breasts. Her back arched, filling my palms all on her own. Her legs wrapped around my waist and when she began to writhe a little it meant she was rubbing against me in all the right places.

I wanted to tear her nightgown off but I knew she would be pissed if I did. She’d learned long ago that the fate of her panties was completely in my hands. She had wisely picked a pair she wouldn’t miss, which told me she knew exactly what she was doing when she put on that nightgown. I managed to get the gown up around her waist and then sat on my knees and she sat up so I could pull the gown over her head.

While I reached into the nightstand for a condom, Sookie moved to turn off the light. She pulled me to her and kissed me hard. After she pushed down my boxers we rolled over so she was on top of me. She took the condom from me and put it on the other nightstand.

“We need that,” I reminded her.

She grinned at me and said, “Not anymore. I started the shot when I went to the doctor last month. I wanted to surprise you.”

No more condoms? Fuckyeah! We’d talked about alternative methods of birth control but I’d left it up to her to decide. Obviously she had decided. On the scale of fuckawesome surprises, finding out I wasn’t going to have to wear a raincoat when I fucked my wife was pretty sweet.

Her hips rocked against me and she was smiling at me in a way I’d never seen before. I could feel how wet she was already which made me think she’d been thinking about this all day. Little minx had been plotting.

“Have I told you today that I love you?” I asked her as my hands guided her hips back and forth.

“Mmm, no,” she leaned down and kissed me again, “but I’d prefer if you showed me.”

I growled and rolled us over again. Those panties were in shreds a few seconds later. Sookie rolled over and got on her knees, offering herself to me. She smiled over her shoulder and wiggled her ass at me. There was the perfect blend of playful and mischief in her eyes.

I grabbed her hips to hold her still and then bent down to lick her glistening slit from top to bottom. She moaned and was still looking back at me when I straightened up behind her. She bit her bottom lip in anticipation, watching me as I grabbed my cock and stroked myself a couple of times.

We’d had sex one time without a condom and we were both drunk on New Year’s Eve. But I didn’t really remember what that felt like. The second I touched her I knew there was no way I would ever go back to wearing condoms. Being skin on skin felt way too amazing. I pressed against her opening and she pushed back against me.

“Don’t stop,” she said when I didn’t push all the way in like I usually did. I wanted to savor the feeling and told her so.

I wasn’t going to rush this just because of a meeting in the morning. It would be worth it to swagger in a few minutes late. There was a picture of Sookie and me on my desk at work. The guys I worked with were always telling me what a lucky fucker I was to have landed her. They had no idea.

I buried myself inside her completely and grabbed her hips tightly. I could feel everything, and it was… it was the best thing ever. She looked over her shoulder again, flipping all that silky blonde hair out of the way when she did and gently started to rock on her hands and knees. I looked down to watch myself sliding in and out of her and it was fucking hypnotic. Sookie reached back and put one of her hands on mine. Our wedding rings sparkled in the little bit of moonlight coming in from the window and the smile on her face was one I would never forget.

Fuck me, baby,” she moaned, and I didn’t have to be told twice.

♦ ♦ ♦

Intermission came and I managed to get backstage thanks to one of the other teachers Sookie had become friends with since she started working at the school. Claudine gave me a disapproving look and I could tell from her expression alone that I was in the dog house.

“How mad is she?” I paused when Claudine stared me down.

“She’ll only talk about the play,” Claudine said and I winced.

When Sookie developed tunnel vision it was rarely a good thing. She had a tendency to shutdown when she was upset and I knew then that I had fucked up. I wouldn’t say that we were having problems in our relationship but things had just become so… I don’t even know what the word is. I don’t want to say tedious or monotonous but it was something like that. Maybe we were on auto-pilot?

I loved her as much as I ever did, if not more. I wanted her constantly. We were just chugging long. There wasn’t the same excitement there used to be. We were doing okay, not great, and I wasn’t okay with that. I missed the way we used to be.

Sookie was talking with her cast, getting them prepped for the second half of the play. I stayed out of the way and just watched her. She was giving direction to the lead, a nervous girl who had doubted herself from the beginning over whether or not she could really carry the play.

“You’re doing great, Lilly. Your pacing in perfect and I Miss Crane can hear you all the way in the back. Keep that up,” Sookie encouraged and gave the nervous girl a hug. Her eyes found mine and the hopeful smile on her face faded.

I straightened up a little and offered a shy smile to her. Sookie’s eyes got cold—scary cold- and she quickly turned away and made herself busy with something else. I sighed in defeat. The dog house would be a nice step up from where I currently found myself.

Approaching her at that moment was a bad idea so I gave the flowers to Claudine and asked, “Will you please give these to Sookie and tell her…” I trailed off, trying to find the right words. My mind flashed on what ended up being our wedding song since it was the first one we heard when we got in the car after we were married. “Tell her even the best fall down sometimes.”

Claudine nodded and gave me a sad, sympathetic look before I walked away. I hated that I ruined her night.

March 2007

You’re barely waking and I’m tangled up in you,” I heard a familiar voice whisper sing beside me.

We’d been married a year. Statistically, that was a good thing. It wasn’t always easy but it was worth it. Sookie reminded me, yet again, of one of the reasons why I was so crazy about her when I woke up to find her stretched out beside me in one of my old Green Day t-shirts. Sookie had been out cold the night before when I got home. Despite that fact she’d curled up against me when I slid into bed beside her. It was like even when she was sleeping she knew when I was close to her and couldn’t wait to be closer. I felt the same. I was always reaching for her if she got too far away.

Morning, Mr. Northman,” she smiled at me. Her hair was still all wild from sleep and I could tell she hadn’t been awake for long.

Morning, Mrs. Northman,” I smiled back at her. “Looks like you slept well,” I raised a hand and touched her hair.

I had some crazy dreams last night,” she slid on top of me. I liked where this was going already.

Oh yeah? Wanna tell me about it?” I let my hands settle on her ass and grunted when they moved up and I discovered she wasn’t wearing underwear.

I can’t really remember,” she kissed the corners of my mouth.

Fine with me. I liked what she seemed to have on the agenda anyway. Unfortunately it was late and I needed to get up and get to work. I’d already been late one day earlier in the week because of her wake up tactics. I couldn’t keep it up or I would be stuck forever in the grunt heap, working long ass hours for next to no pay.

Shower,” I said against her lips.

She completely ignored me and resumed kissing me. As much as I wanted to roll her over and spend the rest of the day seeing how many different ways I could make her scream my name, I had to get out of bed. If she wasn’t going to get off of me willingly, I was just going to have to take her with. I sat up with her still attached to me and her arms wrapped around my neck.

I managed to get turned toward the side of the bed and before I stood up she wrapped her legs around me, too. I carried her into the bathroom and set her down on the vanity long enough to get the shower going. In the ten or so seconds I was facing away from her she whipped off the t-shirt she’d been wearing. When I turned toward her again she bit her bottom lip and looked down at my boxers.

Those have to go,” she stared hungrily at me.

Did you start the coffee?” I asked her.

She raised an eyebrow and asked, “Are you serious? Baby, I’m trying to fuck you right now and you’re worried about coffee?”

I know how you are. That orgasm haze wears off quickly in the morning and if there’s no coffee,” I stepped closer to her after sliding my boxers down and kicking them away, “you get crabby, and as much as I would love to fuck you twice before work I don’t think we have time for that.”

I set the timer last night,” Sookie pulled my face to hers and wrapped her arms around my neck again.

I’m pretty sure we lost track of time; it seemed to happen on a regular basis. We’d get started and it was hard to stop. By the time we actually got into the shower the hottest water was definitely gone and if we didn’t hurry we were going to end up literally taking a cold shower and there wasn’t going to be time to warm each other up the way we preferred to.

Sookie squeaked a little when I pressed her against the tile wall and tightened her grasp on me. The water hit us just right and the sight of the little beads rolling down her chest was pretty awesome. My grip on her shifted just a little so I was holding her up by her ass and I lifted her a little higher so I could slide inside her. We both moaned as I did and her feet pushed against my lower back, bringing me deeper into her.

Happy anniversary, baby,” she smiled at me and pulled my face to hers again.

With time running out I had no choice but to go hard and fast. We had plans for later that night and we would no doubt spend most of the night in bed together. Hell, the whole weekend was most likely going to be spent between our sheets. I had no problem with that whatsoever.

Sookie’s nails dug into my shoulder and she nibbled on my neck and earlobe as I thrust into her. Over and over… in and out… she was the best I’d ever have. I still didn’t know why she picked me but she did and I was going to show her every fucking day how thankful I was for that.

I love you, Sookie,” I said and then brushed my lips against hers. She followed after me and sucked my bottom lip gently before going after the top one.

Watch me,” she looked down and I noticed one of her hands had moved between us to help her along.

Our foreheads pressed together and the sight of her getting herself off pulled me over the edge with her. I pinned her against the wall when I came and I waited for her to stop shaking before I pulled out of her and set her back on her feet. I kissed her once more and then we were all business. By the time we got out of the shower the water was barely warm.

I was definitely going to be late for work again.

♦ ♦ ♦

All through the remainder of the play I tried to think of ways to make it up to Sookie. I didn’t want to fight with her. I hated it when she was mad at me. I didn’t want to get into bed beside her and feel like I was sleeping in the Arctic Circle. When she was pissed, she didn’t want to be touched and that meant no snuggling. That meant I was miserable and slept like shit.

I pulled my silent Blackberry from my pocket and saw that I had more than a dozen emails waiting for a response. I groaned internally and made an executive decision. I was taking the next day off. I needed to either spend it with my wife—assuming I could talk her into taking a sick day- or I needed to spend it figuring out how to fix what I had so thoroughly fucked up. Her ignoring me was never a good sign and it had only happened one other time in our marriage.

I paid dearly for it. More accurately, my balls paid dearly for it. I was put on husband time out and Sookie came to bed every night in the sexiest lingerie she could get her hands on, knowing damn well she wasn’t going to let me touch her. It was fucking torture. I never wanted to go through that again.

After thinking about it through most of the second half of the play I came to the conclusion that maybe the best way to get back to the way we were was by recreating some of that stuff. I thought about the times we were happiest. Obviously I couldn’t duplicate all of it but there were plenty of little things I could do. I thanked God for wireless internet and started doing some checking around on-line.

Before the play ended, I had a plan.

oOoOo

I was waiting for Sookie at her car. I figured she was pissed off already and she hated trying to put on appearances. It would be easier for her to say I got called away by work than it would be for her to pretend like everything was fine between us when it wasn’t. Besides, if there was any chance I hadn’t already ruined her night I didn’t want to completely fuck things up by hanging around and waiting for the right moment to apologize.

Sookie stopped in her tracks when she realized I was waiting for her. She was carrying the flowers I’d asked Claudine to give her and she still had her Ice Queen persona firmly in place. I stood up straight and told myself to man up. It was my own fault I was in this mess to begin with; I had no one to blame but me.

“I’m sorry I was late,” I said as she stepped closer to me.

“So am I,” she said bitterly, her keys jingling in her hand. “You knew how important tonight was to me, Eric. You knew about this months ago. I watched you put it in that fucking thing you’re attached to twenty hours a day. I swear, I think that Blackberry gets more action from you than I do.”

Ouch.

The worst part was that she wasn’t entirely wrong. When I thought about it I realized it had been almost three weeks since the last time we had sex. That was a real earth shaker for me. Three weeks? That was unacceptable. We’d never gone that long before, and that’s including the month we spent passing a cold back and forth because we couldn’t keep our hands off each other.

“Sookie, I’m sorry,” I repeated and she shook her head.

“Look, I know we both have a lot going on. I know how important your work is to you and I am so glad that you have a job that you love as much as I love mine, but I am sick and tired of feeling like an afterthought, Eric. I can’t remember the last time we had a real conversation, or the last time you told me you love me. I know that you do but sometimes I need to hear it.” Tears filled her eyes. FUCK. “And I know I get caught up in my stuff too; I’m not blaming you for everything… it’s just… I don’t know what to do.”

Annnnd her tears were falling.

She tried to dodge me when I reached out for her but I wasn’t going to let her. No way were we going to get closer if she pushed me away. She dropped her flowers and I held onto her tightly, letting her cry into my shirt. I rubbed her back and gently played with her hair, letting her cry it out for as long as it took for her to feel somewhat okay again. When she looked up at me she had raccoon eyes and the evidence of her sadness running down her face mad my heart clench and my stomach turning. Knowing I was the cause for that sadness only made it worse.

“I hate it when you cry,” I tilted her chin up. “And I do love you. I’m sorry I don’t say it enough. I’m sorry I let things that don’t really matter get in the way because you, Sookie, are the most important thing to me. You’re everything, and I’m sorry that I haven’t been showing you that.”

She nodded, sniffling and hiccupping a little while she tried to calm herself down. I hugged her to me and she cried some more, which just killed me. The oceans of tears she could produce when she needed to were pretty epic and I knew trying to talk her out of them would do me no good. It was best to just ride out the storm with her and wait for her mood to pass.

When she was finally done crying I wiped away her tears as best I could. She apologized—needlessly- for the state of my shirt. She looked like she might start crying again but instead I tilted her face up toward mine and I leaned down to kiss her. Kissing her had always distracted her in the past. Why not put that skill to use now?

Much to my surprise and relief, she kissed back. Her arms wrapped around my neck and she sank into me the way she used to when we first met. I welcomed the slight weight of her body pressed against mine. I’d missed it more than I could possibly express to her. I was glad to have it back.

“What do you say we go home now, Mrs. Northman?” I asked her when the kiss broke and she nodded.

I bent down to get her flowers for her and then kissed her once more before going around to the passenger’s side of her car. Sookie gave me a confused look but I got in the car anyway.

“What about your car?” she asked.

“I’m taking a sick day tomorrow. I’m hoping to spend it with my wife,” I reached for her hand and I heard her breath catch.

“You never take sick days,” Sookie reminded me.

“I’m making an exception. You’re more important to me and I don’t want you to question that ever again,” I leaned over the console between us and kissed her again. “I love you too much.”

“You picked a good day to take a sick day,” Sookie smiled against my lips.

“Oh yeah? Why’s that?” I looked into her eyes and was glad to see the Ice Queen gone from them.

“Because I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow,” she said and I pulled back.

Before I could fire off a million questions to ask what was wrong she grabbed my hand and put it on her stomach. It didn’t feel soft like it usually did and the first thought was that she had cancer or something and I’d been too caught up in my own shit to notice she was sick.

“Are you sick?” I asked, hoping to God that wasn’t the case.

“Only in the morning,” she smiled at me.

What?

“Eric, I’m pregnant,” she said, her finger drawing hearts on the back of my hand.

Six Months Later…

With her mother’s help I was able to get Sookie out of the house for the weekend. Ever since we found out we were having a girl when Sookie was nineteen weeks along she’d been torturing herself trying to figure out what to do with the baby’s room. As soon as I heard we were having a girl an idea had come to me but I’d kept it to myself. Sookie was determined not to paint the room pink and I was more than fine with that. Of course that meant sorting through endless paint samples in attempts to pick the right color for the walls of her nursery.

Finally I’d had enough. She was driving me crazy. Sookie would settle on one thing and then see something in a magazine and change her mind. So I made the executive decision to take it out of her hands and called my mother-in-law, pleading for her help. When I told her what I had in mind I think I heard her swoon over the phone and she promised to be of help in any way she could.

In the end it was a craft fair she used to lure Sookie away from the house for the weekend. I didn’t care what it was, as long as I had a couple of days to get the room done. Thankfully the painting part was already done for me. Sookie had seen a nursery based on bananas, so the walls were already a soft shade of yellow. That made my life much easier.

She had shown me the crib she liked the most and I ordered it without her knowing about it. It had been delivered to our neighbor’s house to keep Sookie from finding out about it. I enlisted Tray’s help (our next door neighbor) in moving the furniture into place and putting things together. The last thing I put on the wall was a pair of snow white angel wings and they hung over the head of the crib.

Our daughter’s name, Genesis, was painted on the other wall above the crib. Our daughter was the beginning of the next phase of our life together so it only seemed appropriate that we gave her the name we did. Everything was perfect and by the time Sookie came home that Sunday afternoon, I was ready to have her back. I missed her and I knew that being behind the wheel of a car for almost two hours had to have sucked for her. Sookie was almost too big to drive anymore.

I heard the garage door open and I rushed out to help her out of the car and bring in her bag for her. She kissed me hello and then quickly waddled into the house to go pee. She was up and down every ten minutes like clockwork. Sookie never complained, even though I knew she was getting to the point where pregnancy wasn’t exactly fun anymore. I helped her as much as I could but there was only so much I could do.

I left her suitcase on the washing machine, knowing Sookie was going to want to immediately wash whatever she had taken with her to her parents’ place for the weekend. They had two old hound dogs that slobbered all over everything and Sookie had entered the nesting phase of pregnancy long ago. Smelling like an old hound dog wasn’t going to make her happy.

“I smell paint,” Sookie sniffed when she came out of the bathroom. “Were you painting?”

“A little,” I reached for her hand. “I have something to show you.”

“Is it a nap?” she guessed and I laughed.

“No, not a nap,” I kissed her forehead when she pouted. “Trust me; you’re going to want to see this. I promise you can nap as soon as you take a look.”

“My feet!” she smirked and I laughed again.

“Sorry, baby, you’ve got about another five weeks before you get to see those again,” I motioned for her to go ahead of me on the stairs. She didn’t like to admit it but sometimes she needed a push and I didn’t want her to lose her balance and fall backward without someone there to catch her.

“And even then they’ll be in stirrups with my hoo-hah exposed for everyone and their mother to see,” Sookie cringed. She was afraid of the birth part and I couldn’t blame her. I’d done enough reading on the process to know it wasn’t going to be any fun for her at all.

I said nothing since anything I could have said probably would have incited some sort of hormonal riot and I’d already gotten my fair share of tongue lashings on account of those nasty bastards. I would be thankful when Sookie was back to normal again. We got to the top of the stairs and I led her down the hall to the nursery. The door was closed and she looked over her shoulder at me.

“What did you do?” she asked.

“Open the door,” I nodded in front of her.

She twisted the knob and pushed the door open. My hands slid around her belly and I walked into the room right behind her. “Eric, this is…” she trailed off, unable to find the right words.

I gave her a moment to take it all in and when she turned around to face me there were tears in her eyes. Of course. “What do you think?”

“I think it’s perfect,” she leaned into me. “Whatever made you pick angels?”

“The night we met,” I looked down at her and she smiled up at me. “You were dressed as an angel, remember?”

Sookie grinned and then laughed. Was it possible I’d remembered something she didn’t? Better mark that shit down on my calendar.

“Ohmygod, yes, I remember! I offered to scream Jesus for you,” Sookie said between laughs and I chuckled myself at the memory. That was the girl I fell in love with. “You know, it’s been a while since I screamed like that for you.”

I took a deep breath, not wanting to say anything to press my luck. She pushed up on her toes and kissed me softly. I felt a little kick between us but I was used to that feeling. If I didn’t know any better I might think my daughter was high fiving me on a job well done. I bent a little further and kissed the spot on Sookie’s neck that always made her knees go weak.

Before we could go too far she took my hand and led me from the nursery and down the hall to our bedroom. I kissed her again and she purred my name against my lips. That was better than her screaming for Jesus any day of the week.

-FIN-

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