“No, no, no, not again!” I whined and leaned against the wall outside my apartment. I pounded on the door, hoping to break up whatever fun Amelia was having on the other side. “You owe me for this, Broadway!”
This was the third night in a row I had essentially been locked out of my own apartment. Of course I had a key, but the scrunchie on the door indicated the chain had been slid into place. Even if I could get in, I wouldn’t get any sleep. Amelia wasn’t a notoriously quiet bed mate.
It was close to finals. I was exhausted and just needed a good night’s sleep. I wasn’t going to get that in my own apartment. I took a few deep breaths to calm myself before pulling my cell from my pocket. There was really only one person I could count on to be awake and home at that time of night. He answered the phone after two rings.
“Sookie?” Eric’s deep voice was sleepy.
“Shit, I woke you up? I thought you’d be awake.”
“Usually, but I crashed. I was up late in the chemistry lab last night.”
“I’m sorry, Eric. Go back to sleep.”
“Nothing, I was just going to see if I could crash at your place. Amelia’s got a friend over. Don’t worry about it, though. Go back to sleep.”
“Sookie, don’t be silly. You can crash here.”
“No, I don’t want to bother you.”
“You already woke me up,” he laughed. “At least make it worth while.”
I smiled in spite of myself. “You’re sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure. I’ll see you in ten minutes.” With that, he hung up.
Amelia and I were going to need to have a chat about this because it was getting old. I was tired of having to find somewhere else to sleep for the night a few times a week. I was paying rent just like she was. If she wanted more privacy, then she shouldn’t have signed a lease with a roommate. Thankfully, our lease was up in two months. That meant I could leave without worrying about breaking the lease we already had.
I trudged the six blocks to Eric’s apartment. We met my freshman year and his sophomore. We’d been in the same biology class and had ended up being lab partners. Eric was incredibly smart and, I quickly learned, someone who was very reliable and responsible. He was also loyal and charming. It was a bit of a mystery as to why he didn’t have a girlfriend, and hadn’t in the two years I’d known him. He said it was because he was focused on school, but I suspected there was more to the story than that.
We became pretty good friends as a result of our partnership. I liked that we could debate things without taking it personally when we didn’t agree over topics. We liked a lot of the same movies and music. We read a lot of the same books and had a few of the same goals. Eric was pre-med with the intention of some day becoming a Hematologist. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to major in when I started school, I just knew I wanted to go.
When it was suggested Eric and I should try dating, I laughed. It’s not that I didn’t think Eric was cute, because he was. Truth be told, I thought he was hot. It’s just that we didn’t really think of each other as anything other than friends. I mean, if he wanted to ask me out, he would have. Two years was a long time to wait. Besides, it would have been really awkward, I think.
I buzzed Eric’s apartment when I got to his building and waited for the clicking sound the door always made when the lock had been triggered to release. His apartment was up on the third floor. I reminded myself I was almost there, and found the energy to make it up the stairs. Eric was waiting at his door in a pair of pajama pants and nothing else.
I’d seen him shirtless before. Hell, I’d seen him in nothing but a towel once or twice. Eric and modesty weren’t really on a first name basis. He was born here in the States, but he’d spent a great deal of his childhood in Europe. His father was an anthropologist and his mother was originally from Sweden. He spoke three languages: English, Swedish and French. If I didn’t mention before that Eric was incredibly smart, well, I think that’s pretty obvious now.
“I’m sorry I woke up you.” I frowned as I walked toward him.
“Would you stop apologizing already? It’s fine,” he moved out of the way so I could walk in.
As usual, his apartment was immaculately clean. How he had time for it, I’ll never know. Then again, he didn’t have a sloppy roommate leaving a hurricane of debris all over the place. Eric lived alone and liked it that way. He liked having his own space and not having to worry about having another person underfoot for him to trip over.
“So, any ideas on who Amelia’s seeing now?” Eric asked as he bolted the door shut.
“I think it’s still Bob, but I don’t know. I managed to get in the apartment long enough to shower, eat and take a nap earlier between my classes. But then I had study group and that’s when I got locked out.” I explained as I set down my book bag by the couch, which Eric had already made up for me. “I really appreciate you letting me stay here.”
“You shouldn’t have to do this so often, Sookie.” Eric went to the kitchen and came back with two bottles of water.
“I know. I think when the lease is up in two months I’m going to see if I can find a cheaper place and live by myself. Hell, moving back in the dorms sounds better than being Amelia’s roommate.”
Eric made a face that clearly said he didn’t approve. “You could move in here.”
I laughed and shook my head. “I don’t think that’s such a hot idea either.”
“I have the room,” he shrugged.
“That’s not the point. I mean, we’re friends and I like hanging out with you, but I don’t know if I want to share a bathroom with you.” I took a swig of my water.
“I’m not messy,” he said in his own defense.
“Yes, I see that.” I looked around the apartment.
“Well, it’s just an option to consider.”
“I’ll think about it,” I sighed and moved closer to the couch.
“You can sleep in my room. I’ll take the couch.” Eric offered like the sweetheart he was.
“No,” I glared at him. “Eric, I can’t sleep in your bed. First of all, you’re already doing me a huge favor. Second of all, it would be weird.”
“It’s just a bed,” he shrugged again. “We could sleep in it together.”
That got me to laugh again. He couldn’t possibly be serious. “What’s with you? You’re asking me to move in and sleep in your bed? What’s with you?”
“Nothing. Just trying to be nice. I guess I’ll let you get some sleep now.” Eric moved toward his room.
“Eric, wait,” I called out. “Is there something you’re not telling me?”
“It’s cool. Goodnight, Sookie,” he moved into his room and closed the door.
Well what the hell? I went to the bathroom and washed my face. I squeezed some toothpaste onto my finger and brushed my teeth as best I could. I walked out of the bathroom to find one of Eric’s t-shirts on the arm of the couch. It hadn’t been there before, but I hadn’t heard him come out of his room either. I clutched the clean shirt to my chest and stared at his bedroom door.
I quickly exchanged my shirt for his and then pulled off my jeans. My dirty clothes were folded and sitting on the coffee table for me to wear home in the morning. The couch was comfortable. I’d fallen asleep on it a few times in the past. We’d stay up late studying or watching movies, only for me to wake up hours later covered with a blanket and snuggling one of Eric’s pillows.
He was so sweet to me and how did I repay him? Oh, right, by freaking out like I was twelve. I stared at the ceiling for a while, trying to get my mind to turn off. Would living with Eric really be so awful? He was a good friend, a great study partner and I knew I would never have to worry about finding somewhere else to crash for the night. If he had a date, he wouldn’t bring her back to the apartment.
But then the thought of him going on a date with another woman was one I didn’t really want to entertain for very long. I felt an unexpected sadness when I tried to picture what it would be like if he told me he met someone. I had no right to get jealous, but I knew I would. Just like I knew no matter how great she was, I’d hate her. So what did that say about my feelings for Eric?
I wasn’t really sure, but it meant I didn’t get much sleep. I tossed and turned as much as the couch would allow. I think I finally fell asleep somewhere around four. I dreamt that Eric and I were roommates, and it was his sexcapades I was forced to listen to night after night. It was awful. I woke up suddenly with my head pounding and my stomach turning.
Bright sunlight was streaming in through the living room windows. My feet landed on the plush carpet and I cradled my head in my hands. I forced myself off the couch and closed the vertical blinds. In the darkness, I stumbled toward the bathroom in hopes of finding aspirin in the cabinet. Eric’s bedroom door was open. His bed was made and the alarm clock on his nightstand told me it was almost noon.
I’d slept through my first class and I didn’t care. I found a bottle of Advil in the medicine cabinet and took two pills. The mat on the floor was damp, suggesting Eric had showered and everything before leaving. I hadn’t heard a sound. I did my business and attempted to finger brush my teeth a second time. In the kitchen, Eric had left me a note telling me to stay as long as I wanted and apologizing for leaving me without saying goodbye.
I grabbed a banana from him fruit bowl and ate it while standing against the sink. My stomach settled a little and my headache began to recede a little bit. After pitching the banana peel into the garbage can under the sink, I went back to the couch. I intended to just sit there for a while until my headache went away completely, but ended up falling asleep again.
“Sookie?” Eric’s voice coaxed me back to consciousness. “Sookie?”
My eyes fluttered open. I knew I was in his apartment, and yet it was still strange to see him first thing when I woke up. “Hey. Sorry, I meant to be out of here earlier.”
“Don’t worry about it. I was just going to order a pizza. You want some?” he offered.
“I should get going.” I sat up slowly and realized his t-shirt had ridden up on my hip. I was wearing boy shorts, but it was still more skin than I’d usually flash his way. “You did put this shirt out for me, right?” I pulled the material that smelled so much like him away from my body.
“Yeah. I didn’t think you’d want to sleep in jeans.”
“Thank you,” I smiled at him.
“So, pizza. Are you in or not?”
I bit my bottom lip. The look on his face convinced me to stay. “In.”
“Good,” he smiled, then went to make the call.
It was considerate of him to ask. He was a vegetarian, but he knew I wasn’t a big fan of vegetables on pizza. Eric came back from the kitchen with a can of diet soda for me, which made me quirk an eyebrow. He’d obviously planned on me staying since I knew he didn’t keep soda in his house at all, and on the rare occasion he did drink it, he didn’t drink diet.
“Eric, why are you doing all this?” I asked him after he took a seat in the big leather chair in the corner.
“Doing what?” he asked innocently.
“Come on,” I shuffled around to the other end of the couch to be a little closer to him. “Don’t get me wrong, you’ve never been anything but polite and nice to me since we met. You’re a good friend and I appreciate your generosity, but this…”
“It feels like you’re trying to tell me something. If you have something to say, just say it.” I put the can of soda down on the end table.
He stalled for a moment before putting his water bottle down on the end table next to my soda. For a man his size, I forgot how fast he could move when he wanted to. Eric knelt in front of me on the floor so we were eye to eye. He touched the hem of his t-shirt, which was currently pooled just above my knees.
“I like the way my shirt looks on you,” his eyes met mine.
“What does that mean, Eric?” My hands were sweaty. I knew what it meant. All of a sudden it all made sense.
“It means that for a very long time now I’ve been trying to convince myself that we’re just friends, but I know we’re not just friends. There’s a reason why I haven’t dated anyone in the last two years since we met. Last year when you went out with Sam, I wanted to kill him. I hated him for having the balls to ask you out and I hated you a little bit for saying yes.” Eric confessed, much to my amazement. My eyes widened and my mouth hung open just a little bit. “That was when I knew no matter what I told myself this whole ‘just friends’ thing was a big crock. I’m never going to see you as just a friend.”
I didn’t really know what to say to that. My sweating hands and pounding heart made it hard to speak, but I knew I had to say something. If I waited too long it was only going to make things even more awkward than they already were, and the truth was, hearing him say the things he did wasn’t as weird as I thought it was going to be. I felt the echo of truth in my stomach. There was a sense of relief. I just had to find the right words to say in response.
What came out was, “I like wearing your shirt.”
Apparently those were the right five words to say because the next thing I knew, Eric’s lips were on mine. I froze for a second, waiting for it to feel weird, but that didn’t happen. Instead, flood gates opened. When his hands delved into my hair, his tongue licked my lips. Without even thinking about it, I opened my mouth and my tongue brushed against his. Again, I found myself waiting for weirdness that never came.
I don’t know how long we kissed for, but I was straddling his lap on the couch when the doorbell rang, effectively bringing our makeout session to an end. He cursed out the pizza guy while I gasped for air. I moved to climb off his lap, but he grabbed my hips to hold me in place.
“I realize this is backward, but I want to go out with you on a date. By that, I mean picking you up at your apartment and then going out to dinner or whatever you want to do. I want to do this the right way.” He was completely serious.
I nodded and said, “I think that’s a good idea.”
Truthfully, I was scared shitless. It was obvious we had chemistry and whatever they were, we had feelings for each other. But if things didn’t work, it wasn’t like when things didn’t work out with Sam. Eric was my friend, and I’d never been very good at maintaining friendships with ex-boyfriends. I didn’t want to lose him.
It turned out, however, that I worried for nothing. We went on our first date two days later. As he suggested, he picked me up from my apartment. He was dressed in a pair of jeans and a white button down shirt he left untucked. His sleeves were rolled up to his elbows, his hair was gelled just a little and sunglasses were hanging from his shirt. He’d left the top two buttons undone, giving me just a hint at what I already knew was underneath the material.
I wore a pretty white dress with red flowers on it that he’d never seen before. I left my hair down, but held back with a red headband. I wore a pair of red shoes I almost never had a reason to wear. I’d bought them for my Halloween costume the previous fall when I’d dressed as the Queen of Hearts. It was the closest I’d come to seeing Eric drool over me, and I probably should have known then that something had changed between us.
The date went well. It wasn’t as awkward as I thought it might be. In fact, it felt pretty much like it usually did when we hung out, only now we held hands when we walked down the street together. Over dinner we talked about our classes and what we were going to do for the summer. Eric had already been accepted to LSU’s medical school and would be starting up again in the fall. It was great news for me since I still had another year to go before graduating.
The bigger question was what I was going to do for the summer. The previous year I’d gone home to Bon Temps for six weeks. I’d worked double shifts at the local watering hole six days a week for just about a month straight. I came back to New Orleans exhausted, and with two weeks to spare before classes started. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that again, but I needed to put money away for the next semester.
At the moment, I was paying for college with grants, financial aide and the scholarships I’d won in high school. My rent was paid with the money I’d inherited when my parents died when I was still a little girl. The funds were dwindling and I tried my best to replenish them, at least a little bit, over the summer. It wasn’t much, but every little bit helped.
After dinner, Eric and I took a walk on campus. We’d strolled the same paths hundreds of times in the last few years, but it was different that night. I started to remember all these little moments we’d shared over the course of our friendship. When we passed a huge oak tree, I remembered a time when we’d studied under it because it was just too damn hot in the dorm to stay inside. I remembered playing catch on the lawn with a few of our other friends. I remembered having lunch on one of the benches. There was the time I stupidly wore new shoes for a talk I had to give, and I got the worst blister on my heel. Rather than forcing me to limp back to my dorm, Eric had given me a piggyback ride the whole way.
The next thing I knew we were standing in front of his apartment. My heart jumped into my throat, forcing me to nod when he asked if I wanted to go upstairs with him. There were no implications in his voice and I knew he wasn’t expecting anything. I blushed as we walked up the stairs when I realized I wanted him to expect something.
I hadn’t told Amelia who I was going out with, but I did tell her not to wait up for me. Not that she would have, but I didn’t want her to worry. Just to be on the safe side, because I wanted to be prepared, I had my toothbrush, a tank top and condoms in my purse. I didn’t know what was going to happen but I figured it was better to be safe than sorry. I made a quick pit stop in his bathroom when we got up to his apartment and came out to find he’d put a move in the DVD player.
“I know this isn’t really a date movie, but I haven’t seen it in a while. It seemed appropriate.” Eric smiled up at me from the couch.
“I love this movie. I’m glad I saw it for the first time with you.” I sat down next to him on the couch, but not too close.
Eric leaned over and flipped the switch so the lights went out. My breath caught as he pushed the play button on the remote, then tossed it to the side. Never before had a dark room held implications for us like they did at that moment. I kept my eyes on the TV as a snow blanketed mountain range appeared on screen. Alaska. I already knew how the movie was going to end, having seen it several times since the first time I saw it with Eric the weekend it opened. A beat up truck entered the frame, and a skinny boy climbed out of the passenger’s side with a backpack and rifle strapped to his back.
It took a few minutes, but Eric’s hand found its way to mine and settled on my leg. Our fingers laced together and his thumb rubbed circles on the back of my hand. I moved a little closer to him. It was a snail’s pace we were moving at. I guess I made the first big move by lifting our hands up and ducking under his arm to rest against his chest.
You’re twenty-one, Stackhouse, not fourteen. Go big or go home, I told myself. There was a part of me that said it would be really trampy to sleep with Eric on our first date, but the more rational part of me batted that argument away. We weren’t strangers. I’d known Eric for almost three years and if we were going to shift our relationship I had to stop treating him like he was just a friend.
I tilted my head back and looked up at him. When he looked down at me, I licked my lips and pulled his face to mine. When one of his hands slid up my side to my breast, I paused for a moment. He pulled back and looked into my eyes.
“Is this okay?”
I nodded and pulled his face to mine again. It wasn’t weird really, it was just new. It was another barrier to breach. I realized then that there was no rush. Just because we’d known each other for so long, it didn’t mean we had to have sex that night. And we didn’t. I did, however, sleep over. After the movie was over- and we didn’t really watch much of it- I went to the bathroom and took off my dress. I came out wearing the tank top I’d packed in my purse and just my boy shorts.
Eric stared at me like I was a t-bone steak. I heard him gulp. He was sitting against his headboard, barely able to contain the grin that was threatening to crack his face. I walked toward the bed slowly. Even though it was a king size bed, it suddenly looked very small. He pulled back the covers on the other side and patted it.
I climbed in next to him and pulled the blanket over my lap. “Sooo…this is…” What was the right word? Awkward? Comfy? Different?
“It’s just sleep, Sookie,” he touched my face lightly with this thumb.
I nodded and sank down and turned on my right side so I was facing him. Eric turned off the light and stretched out next to me so we were face to face. We weren’t touching, but that changed when he wrapped one of his hands around mine.
“You should know I’m a snuggler,” Eric warned me.
I smiled in the darkness and said, “That’s good to know.”
He kissed the back of my hand before returning it to its resting place. “I had a good time this evening, Sookie.”
“Me, too,” I agreed and moved a little closer to him. “You’re okay with taking it slow, right?”
“We don’t need to rush into anything here. We’ll just do what feels natural.”
I nodded and after a few seconds I pushed him onto his back and snuggled against his chest. “That’s better.”
His arm closed around me, making me feel surprisingly safe and relaxed. “Goodnight, Sookie.”
“Goodnight, Eric.” I kissed the bare skin of his chest, and let my eyes close.
Our relationship felt effortless. The transition was much simpler than I ever thought it would be. He did little things to surprise me, which was really sweet of him. He’d leave flowers at my door for me, or put notes in my book bag for me to find later. On the nights I stayed at his apartment he’d make sure there was coffee waiting for me in the morning when I woke up.
We went on a few more dates, all of them wonderful, before Eric and I had the relationship status talk. We hadn’t really told our friends about the shift in our relationship, although I’m pretty sure they figured it out. I wasn’t spending much time at my own apartment and when Eric wasn’t in the labs he was usually with me. Everything just happened so easily, it spooked me a little. It felt like any moment something was going to come along to ruin things.
I was in his kitchen shredding some really stinky Gruyere cheese for the homemade mac ‘n cheese we were making, when Eric came into the kitchen and held a key in front of my face. “What’s that for?” I asked without looking up from the grater.
“It’s a key to my apartment. I want you to have it,” he slipped it into the pocket of my jeans.
“You’re giving me a key?” I turned a little toward him.
“Sookie, three weeks ago I offered to let you move in here with me,” he reminded me with a grin.
“I know, but a part of me thought you were just being nice.” I shrugged, blushing slightly.
“Well, yeah, I was being nice, but I was also being serious. Look, Sookie, I know we haven’t talked about anything officially, but I want you to know I’m not seeing anyone else and I don’t plan to. And from now on if someone asks if I have a girlfriend, I’m going to say yes.” Eric informed me.
“I guess it’s about time we went public, huh?” I rinsed my hands in the sink.
“No, it’s not about that. I don’t think we have to make any formal announcements. I just want you to know where I stand. We don’t have to label each other, Sookie, if you’re not comfortable with it.”
“No, no, Eric, that’s not what I meant,” I wrapped my arms around his waist and put my hands in the back pockets of his jeans, getting a little growl from him for it. The growling, as he well knew, did things to me I hadn’t anticipated. “I’m not ashamed of our relationship. I want that to be clear. I’ve just been reluctant to tell people because I didn’t really want to deal with all the questions and having to explain it.”
“What’s there to explain? We realized we want to be more than friends. We enjoy kissing each other. I very much want to see you naked,” his eyebrows wiggled, which made me laugh. “But I’ve never dated someone that I was friends with for an extended period of time first. This is different than any relationship I’ve ever had, but I think it’s better.”
I agreed with him on all points. I’d never dated someone I’d been close friends with either. All of my ex-boyfriends were guys I’d just met. I’d never tried to do this conversion thing in the past. Maybe that was why my other relationships had failed. Then again, maybe they weren’t meant to be. Maybe Eric was the one I’d been waiting for.
“I think you’re right,” I squeezed the denim covered flesh I had in my hands. “And just for the record, I very much want to see you naked, too.”
We stood there in the kitchen and kissed for a while, but then my stomach had to go and growl. I finished grating the cheese while Eric started frying strips of thick cut bacon to put on the top instead of breadcrumbs. We worked together easily in the kitchen, and by the time the pasta found its way into the oven, I was officially starving. We passed the twenty minutes of baking time by getting out plates and silverware. Eric sent me to the living room to pick a movie to watch.
It was raining pretty hard outside, but there was a nice breeze coming into the apartment. We settled in front of the TV a little while later with bowls piled with cheesy pasta and Death Proof in the DVD player. We sat side by side on the couch while we ate, and I’m sure Eric paid more attention to the sounds I was making than he did the movie. Not that it mattered, since we’d seen the movie before.
Neither of us were big time horror movie addicts, but Eric was definitely more into the genre than I was. I guess that was why he was premed and I wasn’t. I couldn’t handle the blood and gore as easily as he could. I preferred a good psychological thriller to a character’s innards being slashed to bits. Then again, after watching Paranormal Activity, I couldn’t sleep for two days. Every time I heard a noise, I’d panic.
I was in the middle was putting our dirty dishes into the dishwasher when there was a huge burst of thunder and lightning at the same time. I screamed, having been caught completely off guard by it, and to make things even creepier, the power went out. Not just in Eric’s building either. It was a black out.
“Sookie, are you okay in there?” Eric called out to me. I could hear him rummaging around for candles.
“Yeah, I’m fine, just spooked.” I dried my hands on a towel and carefully made my way back to the living room.
Light flickered from the lighter Eric was using to get the tealights lit. I was never more thankful than I was at that moment that Eric had a sappy romantic side that required candles and pretty smelling flowers. I grabbed a plate from the kitchen and covered it in foil. Eric filled the plate with tealights and we slowly walked back toward his bedroom. It was anyone’s guess how long it would be before the lights came back on.
We stretched out on his bed underneath the windows and watched the clouds move across the sky as rain poured straight down. “When it rains like this it makes me miss my Gran’s house.” I whispered to him.
“Why?” Eric turned on his side and held his head up on his hand.
“Tin roof,” I closed my eyes and tried to remember the pinging sound. “I used to lay in bed for hours and just listen to the rain fall on the roof. It’s such a soothing sound. What’s your favorite sound?”
Eric thought for a moment and said, “Train whistles.”
“Train whistles?” I wasn’t expecting that.
“We lived a few miles away from a freight yard when I was little. When my Dad got chosen for a dig in Norway, we were pretty much camped in the middle of nowhere. It was so quiet at night. I was so used to the noise that I couldn’t sleep with all the silence. Then when we came back a year later, the trains annoyed the hell out of me.” Eric confessed with a smile.
“What’s your favorite place you’ve visited?” I turned on my side so we were face to face.
“Prague, I think. There’s so much history there. It’s a very Gothic place, but I loved exploring it. We should go there some day,” he picked up my hand and kissed the tips of my fingers.
“I’d like that. I left Louisiana just once in my whole life and it was for a funeral in Arkansas.” I confessed with a weak smile. “That’s why I’ve been saving for my Europe trip since I was twelve. There is a lot of world out there to see, and I want to see it.”
“You never told me about that.” Eric moved a little closer.
“I didn’t?” I asked and he shook his head. “Oh, well, it’s not that I was hiding it from you. I was just never sure if it was ever going to happen.”
“When are you planning on doing this?”
“I always thought I’d go after graduation. I figured I’d start in England and go where my mood takes me. I have a list of a few can’t miss places, but nothing is set in stone yet. For now it’s still just a thing on my Bucket List.”
“What else is on your Bucket List?” Eric asked me.
I listed off a few things I’d always wanted to do, and he was pleasantly surprised by a few of those things. I wanted to get a tattoo at some point in my life. His face lit up like a Christmas tree when I said I wanted to see all of the Star Wars movies, even though he was shocked to learn I hadn’t seen them yet. I wanted to ride in a hot air balloon. I wanted to learn to ice skate. I wanted to learn to speak another language.
“Any language in particular?” Eric smirked at me.
“You offering to teach me one?” I smirked right back.
“Hearing you speak Swedish might be very sexy,” he pushed himself on top of me and whispered in my ear, “Then I could talk dirty to you in public without anyone knowing what I was saying.”
I know I blushed. I felt heat rise in my cheeks. “What sort of things would you teach me to say?”
He flashed a devilish grin and then proceeded to whisper a whole bunch of Swedish in my ear. It sent shivers down my spine. I had no idea what he was saying, but it sounded sexy as hell. By the time he was done, I’d come to the conclusion that we’d waited long enough on the sex front. The lights were probably going to be out until at least morning, Eric was whispering dirty things in my ear (or so assumed) and I wanted him. Badly.
He kissed my neck just under my ear when he finished talking and slowly moved down to my collarbone. He moved along the bones from my left side to my right before kissing up the other side of my neck. I was already a bit breathless by the time his lips reached mine, and when he ground his hips against mine, my mouth opened to gasp and his tongue brushed mine. After a few minutes I pulled Eric’s shirt up over his head and dropped it on the floor beside the bed.
We rolled over and my shirt quickly joined Eric’s on the floor. His hands went around my back to unhook my bra for me, only to find it clasped in the front. I didn’t usually both with the front clasps since they came undone too easily, and I definitely couldn’t be going around braless, as much as I wanted to sometimes. No sooner was the clasp undone than Eric’s hands were palming the newly bared flesh. As I shrugged off the lace, he rolled a nipple between each of his thumb and index fingers.
My hips rocked against him as my bra fell to the floor with our shirts, and he groaned when I leaned forward and my chest pressed against his. I nibbled on his neck and kept working my way down until my mouth was mimicking on his nipples what his fingers had done to mine. Strong hands forced my head up and our lips met again. I’d learned rather quickly, once we really got comfortable with each other, that Eric was a hair puller.
He didn’t hurt me, but he definitely liked letting his hands get tangled in my hair. After a while I put Eric’s hands at the button on my jeans so he’d know I was okay with moving forward. We’d had the talk about birth control and previous sexual partners. Neither of us were virgins. I was seventeen when I lost my virginity, and Eric had been sixteen. I’d only been with two guys total, and he’d been with four girls. Amelia warned me about sex math, but I didn’t put much stock in what she was saying.
Maybe if Eric had a revolving door of girlfriends and hookups I’d be more nervous about his claim of just four, but he hadn’t so much as gone on a date in all the time I’d known him. I straightened up a little so he could push my pants down past my hips. I unbuttoned his jeans before climbing off of him and trading places so I was the one on my back. I lifted my hips so he could pull my jeans off, but then used my feet to push his pants down.
I knew where I wanted him to focus his attention, but Eric took his sweet time getting there. I held my breath when he peeled off my panties and stared down at my naked form. He licked his lips and bent down to kiss the very sensitive skin just above my mound. I wasn’t used to being kissed there, but he didn’t linger for long. His lips trailed from one hip to the other, then moved down. I gasped when I felt his breath at my center.
Our eyes met and he smiled at me. His eyes were hooded in a way I’d only seen a few times before and was still new to me. I moved my legs a little further apart and shivered when he kissed a part of me that had never been kissed before. It was a strange sensation, at first, but then the pleasure of it took over and I stopped thinking the weird thoughts that had crept into my brain. His hands reached up for mine and our fingers laced together at my hips.
He did amazing things with his tongue and my body responded in ways I didn’t know it could. I squeezed my palms to his as the pressure in my belly got more and more extreme. He suddenly let go of my right hand and one finger slowly entered me. I gasped as that finger began to stroke gently in a counter rhythm to what his tongue was doing. A second finger joined the first and in no time, I felt like I was flying.
I knew from previous makeout sessions that Eric was bigger than most guys. I mean, his height sort of made it obvious, but there was always the chance he was out of proportion. I’d spent enough time in his lap the last couple of weeks to know he was very much in proportion. It had been more than a year since the last time I’d had sex, and since it had been at least three years for Eric, I was pretty sure neither of us were going to last very long.
When the colors stopped flashing behind my eyes and my body stopped shaking a little, Eric kissed his way up my torso. He sucked his fingers for a moment, and when he kissed me, it was strange to taste myself on him. I felt his erection press against the inside of my thigh as we kissed. My lower half shifted, wanting more friction already.
I was on Depo, but we agreed that for the time being, extra precaution wasn’t a bad thing. Eric reached into his nightstand for a condom while I carefully tugged his shorts down with my hands until my feet took over. Eric kicked them off himself and then sat on his knees to put the condom on. I stared wide eyed at just how endowed he was, and had a moment of panic. I wasn’t a virgin, but I knew it was going to hurt a little at first. There was just no way around it.
Just like there was no way to hide the fact that I was shaking a little bit. Eric hovered over me, his eyes searching mine and his fingers smoothing my hair back from my face. I held his face in my hands, hoping it would stop them from shaking. I took deep breaths to try and calm myself down. He feathered little kisses all over my face before settling on my mouth. He kissed me deeply, and in a way that left me with no doubt how he felt about me.
“Are you ready?” Eric whispered against my lips while his hand moved between us to make sure I was.
I nodded and said, “Just go slow.”
He did as I asked, pushing into me slowly and pausing when I flinched or bit my lip. It helped that he rubbed light circles over my clit, making my walls tighten and relax so it was easier for him to advance. When he was all the way in, he remained still with a look of complete concentration on his face.
“Are you okay?” I asked him.
“Much better than okay,” he smiled at me. “Does it hurt?”
“It’s just tight.” There wasn’t really any other way to describe it.
“I think that’s my line, lover,” he nipped at my jaw.
He’d never called me that before, but it felt good. My hips rolled when I felt comfortable. He pulled back slowly and then pushed in again. My hands found there way to his butt and I pulled him deeper inside me. He groaned and sped up his thrusts just a little, along with the pressure he was applying to my clit. I moaned and stretched to kiss him.
A few minutes later we rolled again so I was on top of him. My hips rocked at first. It was a different sensation, and one I found I very much enjoyed. Just to change it up, I started to move up and down while I sucked gently on his neck. Eric’s hands cupped my butt and helped me move. I nibbled on his ear and let my hips roll. When his mouth found my nipple it put me into a bit of sensory overload. His thumb found my clit again and my hips rocked faster.
“Yes, Eric, that feels so good,” My nails dug into his shoulders for support.
“So tight,” he growled against my skin. “So fucking tight.”
I’d only heard him curse a handful of times, and obviously never in a situation like this. I moaned louder and louder. His headboard slammed against the wall as I bounced on top of him. We suddenly rolled again and he quickly had one of my legs up over his shoulder. He twisted his hips a little with each down stroke, and my moans became whimpers.
“Yes, more,” My eyes found his. “Deeper, Eric.”
There were more growls and grunts as his skin slapped against mine. He lowered his face to kiss me, but pulled away just as my orgasm started. I squeezed and clenched him as I came, but he didn’t let up on the gentle pounding I was getting. Without even realizing I was doing it, I bit his shoulder. He didn’t scream, exactly, but he definitely made a noise before letting go and having his own release. He continued to thrust a few more times before gently pulling out.
My leg dropped back to the bed. My heart was pounding in my chest. We were both panting and sweaty. I felt amazing and I told him so when he came back to bed a minute later after getting rid f the condom. He cleaned me up carefully with a warm washcloth.
I grabbed his hand and asked, “Why did we wait so long to do that?”
“Two years ago, it wouldn’t have meant to us what it means now,” he said easily. He was right, of course.
“And what does it mean now?” I bit my bottom lip nervously.
“To me, it means the beginning of us,” he touched my cheek gently, then leaned down to kiss me. “What does it mean to you?”
“I think your explanation is pretty accurate.” I kissed him back. “I also think we need to do that again.”
He tossed the washcloth over his shoulder and said, “I couldn’t agree more.”
So we did it again. Twice.
“Don’t you think it’s a little fast to be moving in together?” Amelia folded her arms over her chest.
“Ames, it’s not like we’ve only known each other for six weeks. We’ve been friends for years. I’m practically living there anyway. It just makes more sense for me to officially move in with him than it does for me to find a new place.” I said as I pulled tape across a box of books.
“But what about me? I like living with you,” she pouted.
“Yeah because I cook, clean, shop and listen to your problems.” I shook my head.
“You make it sound like I treat you like hired help.”
“Sometimes it feels that way, Ames. Look, you’re my friend, and I love you, but you’re not the most considerate roommate out there. Not to mention, I love Eric. I like being with him. You might think it’s fast, but it feels like the right thing to do. Besides, I think you’d be better off living on your own. You don’t need me underfoot all the time.”
“Is this because of the entertaining I do?”
I burst out laughing, unable to hold it in. “Amelia, you entertain the whole building with your shenanigans, it’s not just me.”
She huffed her irritation and sat on my bed. “Are you sure this is a good idea, Sookie?”
I smiled thoughtfully and said, “I love him, Ames. That’s the only thing that matters.”
I’d never said the words out loud, but it was true. I was in love with Eric. Everything was going so well with him. If I had known how great it was going to be, I wouldn’t have wasted so much time. Then again, maybe it was good that we had waited. The planets had all aligned and it was the right time. If we had plunged into a real relationship sooner, it might not have been so smooth.
Without realizing I was doing it, I started humming ‘Bless the Broken Road’ while I finished packing. Amelia left me to my work with a roll of her eyes. It didn’t take long for me to finish packing. I’d been at it for the last week, and I’d already moved a lot of my stuff over to Eric’s when Amelia wasn’t home. A couple of our friends had agreed to help move the furniture, and I was never more thankful that Sam had pitched such a big fit about bringing his truck down to school.
Eric’s apartment had two bedrooms. He used the spare bedroom as an office of sorts. His computer and books were in there. We’d rearranged the shelves to make room for my desk. The two of us were dangerously close to being certified book hoarders. I joked that some day when we got married and bought a house of our own, it was going to have to be big enough to house a small library.
Eric showed up right on time the next morning with Sam, Hoyt and Alcide in tow to move my heavier stuff. I carried boxes, as did Amelia, although she did so begrudgingly. I didn’t know if her concern was genuine or jealousy, but I decided it didn’t matter. I was happy and sure of my decision. I didn’t need her raining on my parade.
It took a few hours, but we got everything moved out of my apartment and into Eric’s. Afterward we went to the Red Arrow for dinner. It was our way of saying thank you to everyone for their help with the moving. I loved the Red Arrow. It was a popular diner just off campus that made the most amazing fried chicken tenders and mac ‘n cheese.
By the time we got home from dinner, I was exhausted. There was still tons to do since I needed to unpack and didn’t want to leave the apartment cluttered. I knew it bothered Eric, but it bothered me as well. I didn’t want to live out of boxes. I wanted everything to have a home. It was just a matter of figuring out where everything was going to go.
“Oh no you don’t,” Eric swept me up when I started to tug tape off a box.
“Eric, I have to unpack!” I laughed as he tossed me over his shoulder.
“Later,” he dropped me on his bed. Well, our bed. “I know you’re tired.”
“I am, but we can sleep late tomorrow.”
“We will,” his eyebrows wiggled at me. He pulled off his shirt and dropped it on the floor.
“You know, I could use a shower,” I smiled coyly.
He groaned and said, “I think that’s an excellent idea.”
We’d showered together a few times, but never had sex in the shower. We’d fool around once in a while, but mostly we just got cleaned up in there. In the last month since we’d first slept together, there were very few places we hadn’t had sex in the apartment. He even got me in the closet once, and the memory made me blush.
“What are you thinking about, lover?” His breath on my neck gave me goose bumps.
“The closet,” I admitted with lick of my lips.
We’d had people over that night. Music was loud and just about everyone was drunk. I’d gone back to the closet to get a tank top to exchange for my t-shirt. I was about to pull the tank top down when Eric caught me and closed the closet door behind him. Next thing I knew my jeans were pulled down around my knees and he was pounding into me from behind. It was all lust, passion and very animalistic and I’d loved every second of it.
The warm water felt good on my back, but Eric’s hands felt even better. He massaged gently with soap, and then kissed me until my toes curled when I turned around to rinse off. I ended up on my knees, taking him as far down my throat as I could, while my hand stroked the rest. His hands were in my hair, and it wasn’t until I released him from my mouth that I knew he’d actually put shampoo in my hair while I giving him head. It made me giggle to think he’d seriously been multitasking.
I tilted my head back to rinse my hair and his lips closed around one of my nipples while his hand moved between my legs. I put a foot up on the soap niche, and held onto his shoulders when the fingers stroking and teasing me made my other leg shake. I dragged my teeth down the column of his neck, and found myself being lifted up and pushed against the wall.
We’d never had sex without a condom before, and the difference was obvious immediately. I felt everything, and it was amazing. I felt full and whole, and when his eyes met mine, he stilled inside me. I cupped his face in my hands and leaned forward to kiss him slowly and sweetly before whispering, “I love you,” against his lips.
He responded with a kiss that left no doubt he felt the same way, and then his hips began to move. He alternated between slow and sweet to draw out my pleasure, only to go fast and hard to make me lose myself. It drove me crazy in the best possible way, and he always knew when to do what. We kissed a lot and when he started muttering in Swedish, I knew he was close.
“Watch me, Eric,” I bit his ear and then watched his eyes as he looked down between us to see I was touching myself.
He groaned loudly at what he was seeing, watching my fingers move expertly and the way he was thrusting in an out of me.
“Hårdare, Eric,” I tried to thrust my hips against his. I didn’t know much Swedish, but he’d taught me a few words that came in handy.
“Jag älskar dig,” he grunted and then kissed me. I knew what that meant.
“I love you, too.” Our foreheads were pressed together when we came together.
It was the most amazing thing I’d ever experienced. I wanted to do it over and over again for the rest of my life. We were both shaking and panting, and I was afraid I was going to fall when he put me down. He held me up for much longer than I thought he would be able to. The water was getting cold, so we quickly finished washing up.
By the time we crawled into bed a little while later, I was beyond exhausted. I barely had energy to pull up the blanket. I snuggled into Eric’s side and draped an arm over his nicely toned tummy. My fingers absently tickled his side, which made his nipples hard. I giggled quietly and softly kissed his chest.
“What?” he whispered.
“Nothing,” I smiled against his skin.
“You’re my best friend, you know that?” I looked up at his smiling face. His eyes were closed. He looked perfect.
He squeezed me tight to his side and then surprised me by rolling us over so it was his head resting on my chest instead. “Remember how I said I liked you in my shirt?”
I ran my fingers through his damp hair and said, “Yes.”
“I changed my mind. I think I like you better naked.” he nibbled playfully on my breast.
I laughed and kissed his head. “I love you, Eric.”
“I love you, too, Sookie,” he snuggled against me.
And with that, we fell asleep.