While Sookie was in the shower, Eric decided it was time to lock down the house and to get her a change of clothes. Although he bought the house to be a safe haven for Sookie, Eric had clothes in one of the bedrooms downstairs for himself. In addition, there were clothes for Sookie in the opposite bedroom that were unlikely to fit her during her pregnancy. Instead of trying to see if the clothes would fit her now-expanded frame and the possibility of them not only fitting, but bringing on a fresh round of tears, Eric made an executive decision for her to wear one his t-shirts and a pair of boxer shorts.
Eric knocked lightly on the door before he made his way into the now steamy bathroom.
“I brought you something to wear,” he said as he set the clothing on the counter by the sink.
Sookie let out a small shriek before she peaked out of the shower door with her hands clutching her chest.
“Cheese and rice, Eric! You about gave me a heart attack.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you. I thought you heard me knocking. Your clothes are right here,” he said as he patted the mentioned clothing. “I’ve locked down the house, and will wait out here for you.”
“Thank you, Eric,” Sookie replied. They both knew the thank you was for more than just the clothing he had brought for her. Much more.
“Any time, Sookie,” he replied, eyes blazing. “Any time.”
Sookie took her time in the hot shower as she tried to wash away the stress of the night. If it was possible she’d try to wash away the unhappiness of the last few years, but there wasn’t enough hot water in all of Louisiana to accomplish that feat.
After being in the shower for almost an hour, Sookie stepped out and was surprised to find a hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, and even some lotion waiting for her next to the clothes Eric had brought her. She quickly ran the brush through her hair before brushing her teeth, and slathering the lotion all over her body to prevent stretch marks.
If Eric hadn’t heard Sookie’s movements from behind the closed door, he might have barged in there to see if she was okay. To say he was worried about her would be an understatement. He was slightly mollified by the thought that with the small amount of blood she would hopefully take before he slipped into his daytime rest, he’d be able to feel her.
After his blood had worn off in what seemed now like forever ago and he could no longer feel her life force within him was when his downward spiral began. Eric made a phone call to make sure that Sookie was still alive, and then decided to travel the world with reckless abandon.
He wondered if he’d go back to those same ways once his blood in her wore off again. No. She had been so worried about him when he came back infected. He couldn’t do that to her even if he could become infected again. He would stay here and watch out for her and the child she was carrying until the day they died. After her descendants were no more, he’d reassess if he was willing to live in a world without the woman he loved or her family.
When Sookie finally stepped out of the bathroom, he wasn’t prepared for how happy it made him to see her in his clothes, even if it was only his boxers and t-shirt.
“What are you smiling at?”
“You,” he smirked.
“What about me?” She asked and looked down at herself. “What’s wrong with me?”
“There’s nothing wrong with you,” he replied, his smirk still remaining.
“Then what is it?” She asked frustrated at his evasive answers.
“I was ill prepared with how much I like seeing you wear my clothes.”
“Stop with the fake flattery, Eric. I’m as big as a whale and I’m only going to get bigger.”
“Sookie, I promise you that I will never lie to you again and you’re more beautiful now than ever.”
Sookie blushed and looked down at her bare feet for a moment before mumbling, “You’re the only one who thinks so.”
“Who are you going to listen to? The idiots that reside in your town or me who has centuries of experience with beauty?”
“It’s easier to believe the bad things,” she stated quietly.
“We’ll have to change that while you’re here. Why don’t we go out and sit on the sofa to finish our talk?”
“I’d like that,” she replied and started to follow him out of the room.
As she reached the door, Sookie felt a sharp pain radiate through her stomach causing her steps to falter and a moan to escape.
Hearing the odd moan from Sookie, Eric turned around to see her clutching her belly and slightly hunched over. He quickly picked her up and placed her on the bed before sitting down beside her with a worried looked.
“Should I take you to the hospital? I have to say that I have a lot of knowledge, but childbearing isn’t in my repertoire. Tell me what I need to do.”
If she hadn’t been in so much pain, Sookie would have laughed at the lost look on his face. Instead, she tried to breathe and spoke through gritted teeth.
“I need you to calm down. It’s probably only Braxton Hicks contractions. It should go away in a minute. I need to try and relax and breathe.”
“You’re not doing a very good job,” he said as he took in her shallow breathes and tense body.
“Thanks, Captain Obvious. Now hush so I can relax. Do you think you could get me some water? Is there even any food or drinks down here?”
“Do you really think I’d ask you to stay down here until I rose for the night if there was nothing here to nourish yourself?”
“Eric, please,” Sookie begged. She really wanted him to get her a drink and out of the room for a few moments. He was not helping her relax, but it was sweet he was so worried. Once he was out of the room, Sookie took a few deep breaths and closed her eyes as she relaxed into the bed. She hadn’t realized Eric was back in the room until she felt the bed dip down from his weight.
“You seem to be feeling better,” Eric said quietly as he stretched out on the bed beside her, making himself comfortable. “I put your water on the nightstand.”
“Thank you, Eric. I don’t know where I’d be right now if it weren’t for you. I’d probably be sitting in my house scared to death that whoever killed Dirk was going to come back and finish the job. I can’t believe this is happening. My life has been so…” She couldn’t continue as the night finally caught up to her and she was wracked with sobs.
Eric swiftly moved to her side and cradled her head to his chest as she broke down. It wasn’t until many moments later that Sookie finally calmed down enough to speak and, even then, there were a few hiccups.
“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” she said. Her voice muffled against his chest.
“Doing what exactly?” Eric asked as he ran his fingers through her hair.
“Crying all over you about my dead husband,” she mumbled, noticing when his hand briefly paused in her hair. “If he could see me now, he’d be furious and probably say something about how I wished he would have died sooner.”
“I doubt he’d be telling you that from the afterlife.” Eric responded as Sookie started to cry again while he rubbed her back.
Dear Gods, here we go again with the crying. How does she not know how much it tears me up inside when even one of her tears are shed?
“You didn’t know him,” she sniffed.
“Then please explain to me why he’d say something like that to his own wife.”
She’s probably right about it being a bad idea to cry and talk to me about her husband. Especially if I have to hear that he would have had such thoughts.
Sookie pulled away to look up at him through wet eyelashes. “It took you all of what, twenty minutes, to ride in on your white horse and whisk me away after I found out he was dead. Now I’m in your arms as you comfort me and keep me safe.”
“I’m hardly the hero and only doing what any good friend would do in the circumstances. That still doesn’t explain why he’d think such a thing.”
Sookie’s heart broke a little more and fell to her stomach when she heard the dreaded ‘friend’ word. She wasn’t sure if she should try to explain about her marriage or play the pregnant and tired card.
It was the soothing circles that Eric was now rubbing into her lower back that brought her guard down further and caused her to snuggle back into his chest.
She fisted his now wet shirt in her hand.
“Things weren’t that great between us.”
“All marriages go through tough times,” Eric replied. He shifted his body so that he could simultaneously rub her back and run his fingers through her hair. It seemed that they each helped calm her and he hoped this would keep her from crying again if he did both.
Sookie let out a small giggle, “Did you go to school to be a marriage counselor or something? First you talked me into hearing Bill out all those years ago and now this.”
“No, I was trying to do the right thing by you at the time.”
Eric let out a sigh against the top of her head. “Letting you know that it would have gotten better eventually.”
“I don’t think it would have, but thank you. Truthfully the longer we were together the worse it got.”
“He didn’t hurt you did he? I was never told of such a thing happening, or I would have …”
“I know you would have,” she interrupted. “He never hurt me. I think it was me hurting him at first that caused him to lash out. ”
“Continue… please,” he added knowing how she liked it when others used their manners.
“Are you sure you want to hear all this?” She asked hesitantly. Maybe he’d say no and she wouldn’t have to tell him that she’d never gotten over him.
“Most definitely.” The words rumbled from his chest soothing her a little more. She had forgotten how hearing his voice, no matter the situation, would calm her.
“When Dirk and I first met, I set him straight in letting him know that I was nowhere near ready to date and we could only be friends. It was only five months after both Bill and Alcide had died and at the time, I felt like the kiss of death to any man who came near me. He was content to just be friends for a few months, and then he asked me to go to a movie with him as a date. Although I wasn’t ready to date, I felt like I owed it to him to at least try. That was my first mistake. When he proposed six months later, we had a long talk about how I might never be able to give him my heart knowing that it belonged to another and most likely always would. When I explained this to him, he told me that he was fine with it and that he hoped that someday I would love him as I did and do love the man who holds my heart. As the years passed he became more and more resentful that I couldn’t let go of a person that I loved with my whole heart, but would never see again, no matter how much I wanted.”
“Was he so terrible that you couldn’t get over Bill?” he asked bitterly, spitting out the name he had hoped to never utter again. How pathetic was it that after all these years he could still be jealous of that kuksugare (cocksucker)?
“Bill?” Sookie asked, confused. “What are you talking about?”
Sookie pulled away and Eric instantly felt the loss of her warmth. He wanted to pull her to him and keep her in his arms for the rest of the night, but would never force her. How many more nights would he get with her? Would this be the last time he held her?
“I’m talking about the man who owns your heart. The man who you love and would never see again.”
How could she still love Bill after all this time, especially after she had learned how much his blood had manipulated her feelings.
“Eric, I wasn’t talking about Bill,” she replied with a scrunched nose. As if she could ever love Bill after all that he had put her through.
“Is it really that hard to believe that it could be you? That I could love you?”