Alright, so I have to start off by saying that this little fluffball of a story is for Scribeninja’s birthday, which just happens to be today. I was having a hell of a time coming up with a concept for her, so I took to tumblr and kindly asked my lovely followers to put an ask in my box with a word I could use. I said I’d take the first five words that were sent to me. So I owe Suzitothefuture (marshmallows), Notimefortime (callipygian), Tempella (cabin), CrazyBint (moonlight) and an Anon (dildo) for their words. Enjoy the story!
I waited until I was sure my counselor was asleep for the night. Her soft snores told me she was out cold, and I took that as my cue to get going. There was no way of knowing how long we’d have, and I didn’t want to blow this opportunity. I had been waiting for it all summer. Camp was coming to an end in less than a week. My head rolled toward Amelia, who had one eye open. She gave me a thumbs up and I slipped out of bed as quietly as I could. Pam was smiling at me from her bunk. Ginger and Belinda were asleep in their beds, but they didn’t know what I was up to.
Pam and Amelia, on the other hand, knew exactly where I was going, and had offered to cover for me if our counselor woke up and wanted to know where I was. The bigger problem was not getting caught by Hot Rain, the camp’s director. He was notorious for catching anyone sneaking out of their cabin in the middle of the night but I was willing to risk it anyway.
Eric Northman was worth it.
He was, by the far, the cutest boy at camp. Every girl wanted him, and what he saw in me I had no idea. I was a tomboy and definitely not where the other girls were developmentally. My nickname around camp, thanks to the other boys, was Flat Top. Not flattering at all, but especially not next to my cabin-mates who had nicknames like Long Legs and Loose Lips. I guess Loose Lips wasn’t very flattering either, but Amelia had earned it by being somewhat of a kissing slut all summer long.
Flattering or not, I was jealous of her. At least boys paid attention to her. There were more important things in life than boys; I knew that. I was also thirteen, and since the other kids seemed to be pairing off with someone I felt like the odd one out. Until Eric, the only boy who had shown me the littlest bit of attention was Calvin Norris. He was a nice boy and all, but he was no Eric Northman.
Finally, that night around the campfire while we were toasting marshmallows, Eric had finally come and sat down next to me. He was notoriously unattached to a girl, but it was by choice. I had no idea why he picked me to sit next to, but there were rumors going around that he planned on asking me to be his date to the end of summer dance. I was afraid it was all just some nasty prank that the boys had set up.
Inevitably, every summer, there was some poor girl that the boys took pity on and I was afraid I was going to end up that girl. I didn’t want to be anyone’s pity date, least of all Eric’s. I’d be crazy not to have a crush on him. He had the prettiest blue eyes that just happened to be the color of the lake on a sunny day. He was taller than me, but most everybody was. Even Pam had gotten taller than me since the summer before. She was shaping up to have the body of a ballerina, long and graceful. She looked like a doll come to life most of the time.
I always had scrapes, scratches and scabs on me from falling out of trees, skinning my knees or not paying too much attention where I was going when I went hiking. I let myself get lost in the woods on more than one occasion. Long Shadow, the lead counselor and Hot Rain’s son, had to come looking for me a few times because I stayed out past the time we were supposed to be back for dinner. I liked going out on my own, just watching the animals scavenge for food or play their little games together in the thickets.
Eric had asked me to meet him at the boathouse, and I knew what went on in the boathouse. All of the other girls in my cabin had snuck out at some point over the summer to meet a boy in the boathouse. I stuck to the shadows as I made my way through the woods, avoiding the beaten paths to get to my destination. The moonlight lit my way. Of course, if Hot Rain or Long Shadow were out patrolling to make sure no one was sneaking out, I was going to get caught. Because I didn’t get into trouble on a regular basis they’d probably just send me back to my cabin with a warning.
For Eric, on the other hand, trouble could be a big bigger. There were rumors that he’d stolen one of the motorboats to go for a little joy ride on the lake one night, but no one had actually seen him do it. But every generation of campers had their own legendary attendees. My brother had been a notorious prankster when he was still coming to camp. His last year he’d been sent home early because of it. Gran had been none too happy about that, but Jason didn’t regret a second of it.
It seemed to take forever to get to the boathouse, but it was really only a few minutes. I looked around carefully to make sure no one had followed me, and then went inside. As was expected, the lights were out so it was pitch dark inside. It was surprising just how much light the moon had offered me as I’d walked. I felt my way along the wall so I didn’t lose my footing and fall into the oil-slicked water surrounding the boat. I could hear the water moving under me and the smell of the lake was concentrated. My eyes were just adjusting to the darkness when I heard a whisper.
“Sookie,” my name was whispered in a voice so low that I couldn’t tell who it was, but I could hear where it was coming from.
There were footsteps and when I turned around I couldn’t see a face in all the darkness, but it didn’t really matter since the second I turned around there were lips on mine. My eyes closed as those lips moved against mine and my heart leapt into my throat. I had no idea who I was kissing, but I had to assume that it was Eric. I kissed back, completely unsure of what I was doing, or if I was doing it right.
And then the lights came on suddenly. I froze, as did my kisser.
“Mr. Northman,” Hot Rain’s voice filled the room.
My eyes opened and I was relieved to see it really was Eric. We pulled apart and he smiled at me before turning around to face Hot Rain.
“Who’s your friend?” Hot Rain asked, and Eric stepped to the side to reveal that it was me standing there. The surprise registered on Hot Rain’s face, and he looked a little amused by Eric’s choice of kissing partners. “Miss Stackhouse, please go back to your cabin.”
“But what about Eric?” I asked.
“I’ll deal with Eric. Please return to your cabin,” he said.
I looked up at Eric, who just shrugged without looking the least bit apologetic. I didn’t know what else to say but didn’t want to get myself into any more trouble, so I quickly scrambled out of the boathouse and headed back to my cabin. I didn’t even think about what kind of trouble I might be in for sneaking out like I did. I was more consumed with how much trouble Eric might get into, or the way my lips were still tingling from that kiss. My heart was pounding in my chest, but it didn’t have anything to do with being caught.
I floated back to my cabin with a huge smile on my face. Amelia was waiting for me, obviously anxious to hear the details. I gave her a thumbs up and she did this goofy kicking/wiggling thing in her bed to show her excitement for me. I slipped my shoes off and lay down on my bunk. While I stared up at the ceiling and replayed all over in my mind. Really, it wasn’t that big of a deal, but to me it was everything. It was a first kiss, and it was with a boy that I really liked.
I felt lucky.
The pretty shade of blue in Eric’s eyes was the last thing I thought about before I went to sleep, hoping I would see him again in the morning.
When I woke up it wasn’t because of the usual Reveille playing me awake, but because Amelia was shaking me. She was an early riser, and already showered for the day.
“Sookie, Eric’s gone home,” Amelia said when my eyes opened.
“What?” I sat up so fast I nearly head-butted her.
Eric was gone? No, he couldn’t be! They wouldn’t send him home in the middle of the night, would they?
“I talked to Stan Davis, you know, the nerdy guy with the coke bottle glasses?” she asked, and of course I knew who that was. “Well he said that Long Shadow came in and watched Eric pack. They put him on a bus back home an hour ago.”
My heart sank and my eyes welled with tears. I knew it wasn’t entirely my fault that Eric had gotten kicked out of camp. He’d done several things over the course of the summer to get himself into trouble, and apparently sneaking out to kiss me was the final straw. I didn’t know where he lived the rest of the year so it wasn’t even like I could look him up to send him a letter or something.
“He’s been banned from camp,” Amelia said.
“No way!” I shouted much to the annoyance of my fellow campers since no one wanted to be up at dawn, much less before it. “Amelia, they’ve only ever kicked out like, four people.”
My brother was one of them.
She nodded and said, “That’s what Stan told me. Eric’s history.”
Well shoot. There were only a few days left of camp, but they were ruined for me. Even if one of the other boys asked me to the dance I was just going to spend the entire time wondering if I could have gone with Eric instead. Before I knew it I was crying. I’d never cried over a boy before, and Amelia was right there to hug me through it. I felt like such a silly girl for being so upset, but I couldn’t help it. It was my first taste of heartache, and I hated it.
If I was that hurt over a kiss that had barely happened, how awful would it be to fall in love with someone who broke my heart? By the end of camp I came to the conclusion that I was going to stay away from boys. I’d be better off that way.
“Sookie, there’s a piece of mail for you on the sideboard in the dining room,” Gran said while she stirred together ingredients for a pecan pie. Who needed birthday cake when I could have one of Gran’s pies instead?
“Thanks, Gran,” I said. “Sorry my mail keeps coming here. I put through the change of address with the postal service.”
“I don’t mind it, honey. Gives me a good reason to have you over for supper,” Gran said.
I knew she was lonely without me around, but she had also encouraged me to get out on my own. At almost thirty I had yet to be in a serious relationship. I’d had boyfriends, of course, but none that I ever really get too close to me. In high school I’d told myself that I was in love with my first boyfriend, but it was all in my head. In my heart I didn’t feel much above the usual affection I’d feel for a boy I was seeing. There was none of that lovesick, need to be with him all the time kind of thing going on.
In the dining room I found the piece of mail that Gran had been referring to, and my eyes widened to see the insignia of the summer camp I hadn’t been to since I was fourteen. I’d gone back the summer after the debacle with Eric on the hopes that I would see him again. He wasn’t there, and I spent most of the summer being miserable because of it. Every time I got near the boathouse I would tear up a little bit.
Looking back on it, it was silly. Well, my reaction to it all was silly. The kissing thing I understood. At the age of thirteen he was a good kisser, and because he was the first boy I ever kissed I understood why my heart went bonkers over it. But the reaction I had to him being kicked out of camp? Super dramatic. I laughed at myself when I thought about how I’d moped and cried every night for the rest of camp because he wasn’t there. I hadn’t realized my feelings for him ran as deep as they did, and they’d carried over until the following summer.
But when he wasn’t there I had to let go, which was exactly what I did. Seventeen years had passed since the last time I saw Eric Northman. I had no idea where he was, what he was doing or if he was even still alive. For all I knew he was in prison somewhere after pulling a prank that got him arrested, or maybe he messed with the wrong person and got himself killed. Maybe he was married to a supermodel and had children so beautiful that strangers wept at the sight of them.
I opened the envelope and was surprised to see a questionnaire for a camp newsletter. Did I really care about anyone from camp anymore? Yeah, I guess it might have been nice to see where people were at, or what they were up to. I still talked to Amelia from time to time. I’d run into Pam once when I was in Dallas at a concert with an old boyfriend. I think I was twenty-two at the time. We barely recognized each other, and Pam had a girlfriend. Never would have guessed she was a lesbian when we were in camp, but whatever. As long as she was happy, I was happy for her.
“Did Jason get one of these?” I asked Gran when I came back into the kitchen.
“What is it?” Gran asked, turning to look over at me.
“A questionnaire to be part of the camp newsletter or whatever,” I said.
“I don’t know,” Gran said, and turned back to her pie crust. “I suppose he could have, but if he did he didn’t mention it to me.”
Gran was still a little annoyed with him for getting kicked out of camp. She’d had to drive the three hours down to the camp to go pick him up. At least he hadn’t been kicked out in the middle of the night like Eric was, but it was still a long time to be in the car, especially when Gran was ticked off.
“Are you going to fill it out?” Gran asked me.
“I don’t know,” I shrugged. “I don’t know if it’s even worth it.”
“It might be fun, though, to see what old friends are up to. You got to be pretty close with some of those girls if I remember right.”
She was right about that. I had maintained pen pal relationships with several of the girls during the rest of the year, and getting to spend a few months together over the summer was always amazing. But ultimately we’d all lost touch. Whether it was college, marriage or whatever there were wedges driven between us. Still, I was curious about where the girls were and what they were up to. I figured I had nothing to lose so I sat down at the kitchen table to fill out the sheet I’d been mailed.
It asked the standard questions. What years had I attended camp? Which bunkmates were the most memorable? Did I have a favorite memory of my time at camp? Where was I now? Was I married or did I have kids? Would I be open to contact from fellow camp alumni?
I paused at that. I supposed giving out my email address couldn’t be harmful, so I put it down on the questionnaire and then sealed the paper in the return envelope I’d been given. When I left Gran’s later that afternoon I put the envelope in her mailbox to be picked up the next day. I doubted I’d hear from anyone, and quite honestly I even forgot about it.
That is until a month later when I went to check my email. The camp newsletter had gone out quickly, and had only been in circulation for maybe a week. I’d looked up Pam’s email address and okay, yes, I’d looked for Eric. He was listed in there, but hadn’t given any contact information. According to what his little bio said he was living in Shreveport, unmarried and owned a moderately successful business. What kind of business was anybody’s guess. Shreveport wasn’t a big city compared to New York, but next to Bon Temps it may as well have been.
It at least gave me somewhere to start looking if I ever decided to track him down. But then in my email there was a notification from my rarely used Facebook account. Eric Northman wanted to be friends. My jaw dropped and I scrambled to click on the link to his profile.
When the page loaded, my jaw dropped further. Sweet baby Jesus in his manger, Eric grew up to be sex on two legs. Thatwas my first kiss? Holy buckets!
I hadn’t been on Facebook in a while, but the notification was all lit up on my page. I accepted his friend request and it didn’t take long for a little chat window to pop up. My heart leapt into my throat seeing his name there and all of a sudden I was thirteen again. Inside I was doing a little happy dance, even though I was nervous about answering him.
Eric: Sookie Stackhouse, aren’t you a sight for sore eyes. How are you?
Sookie: Stunned you remember me.
Eric: I guess that means you remember me, too.
Sookie:Of course I remember you. How could I not? It wasn’t every summer I got a boy kicked out of camp.
Eric: It was worth it 😉
I blushed. I had no idea what I was doing that night when he kissed me.
Sookie: Oh stop. It couldn’t have been that great.
There was a pause, and I wondered if maybe he thought I was insulting him.
Eric: I’m sure we’ve both gotten better at it. We should find out sometime.
My cheeks flamed.
Sookie: For scientific purposes?
Eric: Because you’re still beautiful and I’ve thought about you a lot over the last seventeen years.
That sound you just heard was my heart exploding at how adorable he was. Jesus, I was totally thirteen all over again. How did he do that to me?
Sookie: Me too. I saw in the mailer thing that you have a business in Shreveport. I’m still living in Bon Temps.
Eric: I know where that is. We could meet somewhere if you want?
My hands shook a little at the prospect of seeing him again but before I could talk myself out of it I answered.
Sookie: Yeah, sure. That would be fun.
Eric: You’re not seeing anyone, are you?
Sookie: Nope, I’m free as a bird.
Eric: Good. How about Merlotte’s at seven?
Eric: Unless you already have plans.
Sookie: Nope, no plans. I could meet you.
Or I could burst into flames right now.
Eric: Great. Then I’ll see you tonight at seven.
Sookie: Yes, you will.
With that, Eric was gone from chat and I had to wonder if that really just happened. I pinched myself to make sure I was awake, and when I didn’t startle out of sleep I knew it was real. I had a date, of sorts, with Eric Northman. Then I looked at the clock and realized it was already almost five. I slammed my laptop shut and hustled to start getting ready.
I walked into Merlotte’s a few minutes before seven and went straight to the bar to order my usual gin and tonic.
“Look at you, Sookie. You look beautiful,” Sam said from behind the bar.
“Thanks, Sam. I’m meeting someone here in a few minutes,” I smiled at him and hoped I didn’t look too nervous about it.
“Let me guess, real tall, blonde and looks like he fell off a Viking ship?” Sam guessed, and my throat went dry so I nodded. “He’s here, and closing in on you.”
I took a deep breath and slowly turned my head. Eric was definitely walking toward me and even with the shoes I was wearing he was at least six inches taller than I was. But damn if he didn’t look positively edible in his dark washed jeans, green t-shirt and Jesus sandals. My heart did a little flip-flop in my chest and my panties were sure to be a lost cause by the end of the night. Almost like some higher power was watching in on this moment, a Lenny Kravitz song started playing on the jukebox that damn near made me laugh at its perfection.
I’ve been searching for you. I heard a cry within my soul. I’ve never had a yearning quite like this before. Now here you are walking right through my door. All of why life where have you been?
Eric smiled at me and before I could even say hello he pulled me into a hug. I hugged him back because why not? I could very easily feel the definition of his muscles under the relatively tight shirt that was stretching to fit his chest and shoulders. Because of the height difference between us, my head only reached his shoulder.
That is until he lifted me off the floor like it was nothing. My arms wrapped around his neck and I damn near wrapped my legs around him, too, but thought that might be pushing it. He smelled amazing, and the feel of his breath on my neck really made me want to test it out to see if our kissing skills had improved. It only seemed fair since we had been interrupted the first time around.
“You’re even prettier now than what I remember,” Eric said.
“Yeah, well, the boobs help,” I said, knowing damn well he felt them pressed against him.
The fall after he’d been kicked out of camp my body started catching up with my classmates. By the following summer I was rocking a full C cup. The summer after that I’d gone up to a D. By the time I was fifteen my brother was begging Gran to make me wear turtlenecks all year round so he didn’t have to hear his friends make comments about my boobs when I laid out in a bikini or went down to the creek to cool off in the water.
Nevermind that my brother hadn’t been a virgin since he was fifteen. At least I hadn’t gone whoring myself around.
“Well what you lack in height you grew in breasts,” Eric teased, and after he kissed my cheek he set me down.
Sam slid my drink over and popped the top off of a bottle of Heineken when Eric ordered one.
“Should we sit?” Eric asked.
“Or we could play pool if you don’t mind me embarrassing myself?” I offered. That was a lie. I was really good at playing pool.
“Yeah, we can do that,” he said, and gestured for me to walk ahead of him.
I led Eric over to the vacant pool table and started to rack the balls, careful of how I bent on account of my short denim skirt. More than once I glance at Eric to see that he was checking me out. My body definitely wasn’t the same as it had been all those years ago, but it warmed my heart to hear that he had still considered me beautiful back then.
Eric grabbed one of the sticks from the rack and handed it to me before taking another for himself.
“So are you still friends with anyone from camp?” he asked me.
“I talk to Amelia Broadway from time to time, but otherwise no,” I said. “What about you?”
“I’m actually business partners with Pam Ravenscroft. We co-own the bar in Shreveport. She’s running it tonight,” he explained.
“That’s great, Eric. Good for you guys,” I smiled at him. “How long have you been in business together?”
“Pam and I found each other again in college, and we both wanted to open a business. We figured out that I have a better head for numbers, paperwork and that sort of thing. Pam is better at marketing and publicity. She oversees that staff but I do the scheduling and payroll stuff.”
“That’s awesome,” I continued to smile. “I racked ’em, you crack ’em.”
Eric moved to lean over the table and I couldn’t help but laugh at what had been my word of the day on the calendar Arlene, one of my co-workers, had given me as a secret Santa gift for Christmas. Callipygian was a fancy way of saying “nice ass,” and it certainly applied to Eric. I was seriously considering taking a bite out of it when I heard the cracking of the pool balls, followed by the thud of two of them.
“Looks like I’m-” Eric started to say, but stopped talking when he noticed me staring. He smirked and asked, “See something you like?”
“Just a perfect callipygian,” I smiled at him.
“A what?” he quirked an eyebrow.
“Nevermind. Are you stripes or solids?”
“I’m determined,” he said and came closer to me. “What the hell is a callipygian?”
It was my turn to smirk and I said, “If you win this game I’ll tell you.”
“And if you win?” he asked.
“If I win you owe me a slow dance,” I said.
“Sounds like I win either way,” he said as he backed away from the table.
“Maybe,” I shrugged, and the circled to see where I wanted to take my shot. “Stripes or solids?”
“You’re solids,” he said.
I nodded and bent over the pool table to line up my shot, knowing it was going to give him a great view of my cleavage. I glanced up to see he was giving me the same look I had probably been giving him. When I sank the ball I had been aiming for the surprise was evident on Eric’s face.
“I thought you said you weren’t good at pool?”
“No, I asked if you wanted to see me embarrass myself. We got that out of the way when you caught me staring at you,” I said smugly.
“Sneaky,” he said with an amused look in his face.
“Thank you,” I curtsied, and moved to line up a second shot on the other side of the table.
We made small talk while we played, although the game didn’t last long. I won, which meant Eric owed me a dance. We changed the stakes for Eric since there wasn’t really a way to go double or nothing. So if he won I’d tell him what callipygian meant and buy him a drink. If I won he owed me two dances. Finally on the third round of pool I showed him some mercy. By then he owed me three slow dances.
It amazed me how comfortable with him I was. He was easy to talk to, had a great sense of humor and didn’t bitch about losing the way most guys would. I let him win the last game but I wasn’t obvious about it.
“Looks like I owe you a drink and a vocabulary lesson,” I smiled when he won.
“Don’t forget my high five,” he said, holding up his hand.
I slapped it and then we headed over to the bar to get him his drink.
“So, what do you want?” I asked him.
“Tequila,” he said.
Sam nodded and went to get the shot.
“Can I also have a lime and some salt?” Eric asked.
“You don’t shoot it straight?” I teased.
“Nope,” he said with a hint of mischief on his perfect face. He brushed my hair away from my neck and added, “Body shots require accessories.”
There went my panties.
Eric tilted my head to give himself better access to my neck, and then he bent to lick the spot where my neck and shoulder met. I sucked in a deep breath, and couldn’t get myself to move while he sprinkled salt on my skin. He put the lime wedge between my teeth, and then picked up his shot. I tracked his movement with my eyes as much as I could, and I was very aware that we were being watched. There was his breath on my neck again, followed by the warmth of his tongue on my skin. I gasped and locked my knees so they didn’t buckle. He kissed my neck and then stood up to drink his shot. When he leaned in for his lime wedge my eyes closed. I tasted the saltiness of his lips on mine, and felt the tingle if the citrus when he bit into it. It wasn’t a kiss, but it still got the juices flowing.
When he pulled back he took the lime with him and my eyes opened again. Damn, I should have let him win the second round.
“Want to dance?” he asked when a Lady Antebellum song started.
“Sure,” I smiled, already feeling a little lightheaded.
I felt Eric’s hand on the small of my back, leading me to the small dance floor. Again that comfort overwhelmed me and there was no awkwardness when we positioned ourselves. Eric was a good dancer, which surprised me. My hand felt tiny in his, but then I was tiny next to him. I felt safe, and when I looked up at him I felt like he wanted to devour me. I liked being pressed close to him and the fact that he rubbed my back while we danced. His hand didn’t dip too low, and being that close allowed me to inhale the smell of him. His cheek rubbed against my hair which made me smile. I swear he purred at one point, like a big cat.
When the music changed we kept right on dancing. Between the drinks and the music I slowly started to feel all of my walls crumbling. I was buzzed, but not drunk, definitely aware of the decisions I was making. So when I asked Eric if he wanted to come over to my apartment it was all my idea. I wanted him alone where we didn’t have to worry about half the town staring at us.
“Sure,” he smiled down at me.
I smiled up at him and after settling our tabs with Sam, Eric followed me back to my apartment.
“What’s the worst prank you ever pulled at camp?” Eric asked me, and sipped his beer.
I thought about it for a minute and said, “Okay, my last year there we had that evil bitch counselor Betty Jo, right? No one liked her. She was always mean and had this scowl on her face. So Amelia and Pam came up with this brilliant idea. Pam had been flirting with one of the boys that worked in the kitchen and he gave us like a gallon of pickle juice.”
“Uh oh,” Eric said, already looking amused and nervous.
“So Amelia and I took on the task of collecting some of Betty Jo’s clothes from her footlocker during a free period while Pam went to get the pickle juice from the kitchen. Keep in mind that Amelia wasn’t bunking with us that year, but since she was a member of the tripod she was in without asking any questions. So Amelia and I go through Betty Jo’s trunk to grab some of her clothes, and while we’re grabbing things we found this massive purple dildo.”
“Oh gross,” Eric cringed, obviously remembering Betty Jo as the hag she was, even back then.
“Yeah, we were pretty disgusted by it, but in looking back it was probably the most dick she ever got,” I said, and Eric barked a laugh. I loved his laugh. He looked adorable when he laughed. “So we ignored the giant dildo and Pam came back with the container of pickle juice. We soaked Betty Jo’s clothes and then Pam took them back to the kitchen to put them in the freezer.”
“You didn’t,” Eric shook his head.
“Wait, wait!” I laughed. “It gets better! Since it was a sub freezer the clothes were frozen in no time. Betty was flipping out that night trying to figure out where her clothes were. She searched the cabin, and of course we didn’t have them. No one had seen us move them, and even if they had no one was going to rat us out because she was evil.”
“So what’d you do with the clothes?” Eric asked.
“We got them back from the kitchen after breakfast the next morning. Amelia snuck them back into our cabin and left them on top of Betty Jo’s sleeping bag to defrost,” I said with an evil smirk.
“You’re a girl after my own heart,” Eric said with a hint of pride in his eyes.
“Thank you,” I smiled.
“Did you get caught?”
“Nah. Like I said, there were no witnesses, so even though Betty Jo assumed it was at least one of us girls in her cabin she couldn’t say for sure who’d done it. Besides, aside from the smell and inconvenience of a wet sleeping bag and clothes, she couldn’t say that we’d damaged anything.”
“Very sneaky of you, Stackhouse,” he said.
“Thanks. It was a great way to close out my tenure at camp,” I laughed. “I bet she was glad when I didn’t come back the next summer.”
“They wouldn’t let me back the summer after I got kicked out,” Eric said with a smile, but it faded rather quickly. “It was too bad, too, because I really wanted to see you again.”
“Yeah, me too,” I admitted. “You were the reason I went back and then you weren’t there.”
“Hot Rain had enough of me,” Eric laughed. “I got into some trouble for a few different things while I was there.”
“I remember,” I smiled. “Something about you stealing the boat?”
“That was on a dare,” Eric said with a shrug. “Besides, I didn’t hurt anyone and I didn’t damage the boat. I just broke a rule.”
“A pretty big one.”
“Back then I lived under the impression that rules were made to be broken,” he told me.
“Now I’m too busy to do much of anything risky.”
“I’m sure running your own business takes a lot of time.”
“It is very time consuming,” Eric agreed. “But it isn’t just that. I’ve grown up since then. I hate to blame my behavior on immaturity, but that was a big part of it. I did it because I could, and because I didn’t really care about the consequences of my actions. I know better now.”
“Well that’s good,” I smiled. “We all have to grow up sometime.”
“Yeah,” he nodded, and there was a hint of sadness in his eyes but he quickly changed the subject. “So why don’t you have a boyfriend or a husband already?”
I snorted and said, “It’s not like they just drop out of the sky, you know. Besides, it’s not like you have a girlfriend or a wife, right? At least you better not, or I’m going to be really pissed off at you.”
“The bar is my wife,” he said, but only seemed marginally happy about that. “And you didn’t exactly answer my question.”
The answer was complicated, and in a lot of ways it all went back to Eric and that first kiss when I was thirteen. Telling him that, however, wasn’t an option. I realized how crazy it made me sound while I thought it over there in front of him.
“I just haven’t found anyone worth dedicating my time to,” I shrugged.
“Hmmm…” he hummed.
“What? You don’t believe that?” I asked, slightly offended by his skepticism, even if he had every right to feel that way.
“Do you date a lot?” he asked.
“Not really. I guess being in a relationship hasn’t been that big of a priority for me.”
“I see,” he said. “So then why did you agree to meet me tonight?”
“Because you and I have some unfinished business, don’t you think?” I asked him.
At that he smiled and said, “Yes, yes we do.”
“Then why are you still sitting all the way over there?”
“Maybe,” he smirked and set aside his beer. “I was waiting for you to make the first move this time.”
Well if that wasn’t an invitation…
I got up off the folding chair I’d been sitting on and walked around to where Eric was sitting. I considered bending down, but instead opted to straddle his lap. His hands landed on my hips, but slowly started to move up the sides of my body. I stared at his lips and was amazed to find how clearly I recalled their fullness against mine so many years before. Eric’s hands did little roaming, but didn’t touch me anywhere inappropriate. When one his hands ended up in my hair, he pulled my head closer to his until my lips finally grazed his.
The contact made me shiver a little, in spite of the warmth and humidity of the summer night. Our eyes met and the intensity of the blue in his caused another round of shivers. Since he was still waiting on me to make the first move, I was the one to move in and really kiss him. Just his bottom lip, at first, to let myself get a feel for him. His lips were that perfect balance of soft and firm, and their fullness made it easy for me to kiss that bottom lip until I decided to take a chance and nibble on it a little.
He growled when I did that, and that was when Eric took over. Good gravy, I had never been kissed like that in my life, and I was glad it was him doing it. His tongue licked the seam of my lips, requesting entrance that I was more than willing to give over to him. The hand on my waist started to travel up my side again until it boldly began to cup my breast. His thumb brushed over my nipple as the kiss deepened.
When I had to break away to breathe, Eric just moved his lips along my jaw until he got to my neck. He was definitely a better kisser than he had been when we were still just kids, undoubtedly the best I’d ever had. After catching my breath I turned my face back toward his, and his lips caught mine again. We spent I don’t even know how long out in my backyard making out in the moonlight. It was definitely what I had been hoping for the summer after he first kissed me, but I knew it wouldn’t have been as good as it was now.
But I wasn’t going to sleep with him.
Eric tried to go for an under the shirt feel up, and that was when I had to pull the plug. I was attracted to him, but I wasn’t about to go the one night stand route. I knew it would only hurt me more in the end if that was all it ended up being, and what little bit of a romantic that was still left in me would be destroyed for good.
“Eric, wait,” I whispered against his lips. Those were the two hardest words to say in the history of spoken language.
“Too fast?” he asked as his beautiful eyes opened.
“A little,” I smiled awkwardly. “I want you. Believe me, I do, but not like this. Not tonight.”
He kissed me softly and said, “It’s okay, Sookie.”
“I’m sorry, I know-”
“You don’t have to apologize,” he assured me.
I nodded and started to climb off his lap, but he held me by my hips to keep me from going anywhere.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
“I just figured that was it,” I shrugged.
“I don’t want to go just yet,” he told me. “Unless you want me to leave.”
“No, no, I don’t want you to leave. I just… shit; I’m not good at this.”
Eric smiled and pulled me into a hug, which got me to relax almost immediately.
“Sookie, it’s okay. We can just hang out and talk. We still have a lot to get caught up on, and I definitely want to see you again after tonight so there’s no rush,” he said.
I pulled back and asked, “You want to see me again like we’re friends, or you want to see me again like on a date?”
“I’d like it to be a date, but if you just want to be friends I can live with that,” he told me.
“No, no, I’d like it to be a date, too,” I said with a hint of a blush, although I wasn’t sure if he could tell thanks to the darkness.
“Good,” he smiled, and then leaned forward to kiss me softly.
As much as I enjoyed sitting on his lap I figured I really should get off of him. An idea occurred to me, and when I stood up I said, “Wait here. I’ll be right back.”
“Okay,” Eric said, and watched me run into the apartment.
In the linen I had a whole bunch of old blankets that I kept for when I went on picnics or laid out on the lawn. I grabbed one of them and brought it outside with me to spread out on the grass beside my cement patio.
“Still remember the constellations?” I asked Eric as I stretched out on the blanket.
“A few of them,” he said as he got up and came over to lie down next to me.
We settled so that my head was resting near his shoulder, and his hand reached for mine. I pointed up at the sky and started to point out stars to him to identify what the different clusters meant. Eric seemed to be paying attention, but after about a half an hour he lowered my arm and draped it over his body.
“I’m glad you accepted my friend request on Facebook. I wish I would have thought to look you up years ago but I didn’t know your last name,” he told me. “I feel like maybe we’ve missed out on a lot of time together.”
“You could have asked Pam,” I pointed out.
He laughed and said, “Don’t make it worse.”
“Sorry,” I laughed with him. “It’s okay, Eric. I’ve always thought there’s a reason why timing is so important. Maybe if we had met each other again a few years ago we wouldn’t have taken it so seriously. It is what it is.”
Eric turned on his side and lowered his face to mine to kiss me. We got back to making out for a little while, which was just fine with me, but ultimately we stopped before we went too far. Eric helped me up off the grass, and I walked him around to the parking lot where his car was parked beside mine.
“Are you free tomorrow? You could come up to the bar and check it out,” he suggested.
“Yeah, I could do that,” I said with a smile.
Eric smiled back at me and then leaned down to give me one more kiss.
“Goodnight, Sookie,” he said, and then moved to get behind the wheel of his car.
“Goodnight, Eric,” I stepped back and waved at him.
He started the car and put his window down. I leaned into it at the last minute and said, “If you can tell me the name of the song that was playing when you asked me to meet you at the boathouse I’ll let you get to second base tomorrow.”
Eric laughed and said, “Do I have to answer right now?”
“You have until tomorrow night when I get to the bar,” I told him.
“Deal,” he said.
“Okay then. Night, Eric,” I said, and stepped back from the car again.
He put the car in reverse and started to back out of his parking space. I went around to the outside of the apartment to tidy up once his car was gone. I folded up the blanket, doused the coals in the small grill to make sure they didn’t somehow re-ignite themselves, and picked up the beer bottles to put them in the recycling bin. I couldn’t stop smiling. It was great to see him again, and I couldn’t help but let all the possibilities play out in my mind.
I took a quick shower just to get the sheen of sweat off my body, and when I went to plug my phone into its charger I realized I had a notification from Facebook waiting for me. Eric had left me a comment on my wall.
I don’t remember the name of the song, but I remember the words. “I’m not gonna lie. I’ll not be a gentleman. Behind the boathouse I’ll show you my dark secret. I’m not gonna lie, I want you for mine.” See you tomorrow night, Sookie.
I did that same silly kicking/wiggling thing Amelia had done in her bunk all those years ago and set my phone aside. Eric remembered, and he was definitely going to get full advantage of second base the next night. I couldn’t wait.