We promised each other that we would always be the best of friends.  Funny how I thought I could keep that kind of momentous promise.  Forever is a long time, but when did I know?  We were just kids.  

A/H – Romance


 

SPOV

Had to Know

The Beginning

When I was younger I thought I had it all figured out, but didn’t we all? I didn’t come from money or a reputable family so when I was offered a generous scholarship to a small, but respected out of state college my Gran couldn’t have been more proud.

For two years I traded going to the school dances and house parties for quality time with my textbooks and notes.  Instead of going to mall I went to the local library and studied until I couldn’t see straight.  Of course that meant I didn’t have that many friends, actually I didn’t have any friends,  but if I ever wanted to get out of the small town of Bon Temps and make something of myself I had to go to school.

However, I wasn’t always like that. Being the extremely shy and awkward girl that I was made it exceptionally difficult to make friends.  I’d rather keep my head down and blend into the background, but there was this boy who I met in my freshman year who made me want to look up and see the sun.  He had recently moved to Louisiana from Sweden and we instantly became friends.

Eric Northman.

Short, chubby and pale, he would get picked on by the upperclassmen for his long hair and heavy accent, but he didn’t care.  Eric took everything with a grain of salt and a smile on his face.

Even when the seniors would steal his glasses or make fun of his braces, Eric would laugh and let everything just roll of his back.

“One day they will see, Sookie.” Eric would tell me with a wide smile. “I am Swedish, they will all love me.”

Of course back then I laughed. If I only knew then just how right he really was…

Eric was an only child and his mother had passed away when he was just a baby.  His father owned a small software company and when it wasn’t succeeding as well as he had hoped in Sweden, he relocated to Louisiana.

In our freshman year we did everything together.  We walked to school together, ate lunch together and even went shopping together. Friday night became movie night for us and we would huddle up next to each other under my quilt that Eric swore was the ugliest thing he’d ever seen.  Although, despite the offensive eye sore, I think he secretly liked it.

More times than not, we would sneak out to this secluded field about a mile away from my house.  We’d stay up until the sun rose; joking, laughing and promising we would always be the best of friends.

Funny how I thought I could keep that kind of momentous promise.  Forever is a long time but what did I know?  We were just kids.

I remembered the first time I had my heart broken. I caught my boyfriend of less than a week, Bill Compton, making out with his ex under the bleachers and I thought it was the end of the world.  Eric was there to hold me and put me back together.

“Forget about Compton, Sookie.” Eric whispered into my ear as I cried.  “You deserve a man of worth.  A man who loves you.  You deserve a man like… someone better than Compton.”

That summer we spent everyday together and it wasn’t until the first week of school that I realized that I was in love with my best friend.  I spent the first month of sophomore year trying to deny it, but every time he would smile or laugh, hell, everytime he looked at me, I couldn’t ignore the butterflies in my stomach or the flush on my face.

“You okay, Sookie?” Eric asked as he touched my heated cheeks with his soft fingers.

“Oh, y-yea.  I’m good, just a little warm.”

“Warm?” Eric rolled his eyes and grinned.  “We are in Lousiana, everything in this place is miserably hot.”

“Yea, yea.  Unlike your wonderful Sweden.  The land of polar bears and naked people,” I joked.

“And Hammerby.”

“Soccer,” I teased, knowing just how much he hated it.

He laughed and draped his arm over my shoulder.  “Whatever. Sweden is great! One day I’ll show you,” he replied with a wink before kissing the top of my head.

Over the next few weeks, the worst possible thing happened.

Eric hit puberty.

Gone were the short legs and chubby arms.  The childlike voice I had grown to love was replaced with something I hardly recognized; a deep and soothing sound that scared and turned me on all at once.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one who noticed and when his braces came off two months later, every girl in a ten mile radius noticed him.

I was in trouble when Eric was just a short, chubby nerdy looking kid, but when he transformed into this tall, gorgeous boy, I was screwed.

So. Very. Screwed.

Suddenly, Eric wasn’t the weird kid from Europe.  Eric Northman was the cool guy from Sweden that everybody loved… just like he said they would.

From then everything started to change, although, Eric was still the same charming, adorkable boy I fell in love with, everything else was different.  We didn’t hang out as much due to him making the varsity soccer team. I was thrilled that he made the team since I was convinced that soccer was his first love; next to nudity, which in hindsight may be why he joined the swim team.  Anyway, he started making new friends and slowly but surely we started to drift apart.

Granted, Eric constantly invited me to go with him to parties or to hang out with his new friends, but I always declined. It was a lose/lose situation and I didn’t know what to do.  If I told him how I felt, it would destroy our friendship and if continued to be his friend I know sooner or later I would end up kissing the hell out of him; ergo our friendship goodbye.

No.  Distancing myself and letting our friendship die out was the only option.  That was for the best, right?

Eventually, Friday night movie night became a solo affair and sneaking out to our field to watch the sunrise was something I couldn’t even think about without putting another crack in my already breaking heart.

By the end of our sophomore year Eric confronted me and demanded to know why I was avoiding him.

“What happened to us, Sookie?  What did I do?” he asked me. “How can I fix us?”

Like the coward I was, I didn’t tell him the truth. “People change, Eric.  We’re just changing that’s all.”

“I’ve missed you,” he said, cupping my face in his large hands.  Looking up at him I wanted to cry.  The combination of his sunkissed skin,  bright blue eyes, and his long blonde hair that framed his handsome face made me want things I shouldn’t.  Things that were so way out of my league.

I wanted to kiss him.  God, how I wanted to kiss him, but I wasn’t brave enough to do anything other than look at his soft pink lips.

“Sookie,” his voice rasped and it snapped me back to reality. I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t.  Eric deserved a beautiful girl who was just as popular as him, not some little nobody like me.

I tore myself out of his hold.  “I’m sorry, Eric.  I just can’t.”  I said softly before I turned around and walked away.

That terrible day marked the end of our friendship. I destroyed the best thing to ever happened to me and like an idiot, I did nothing about it.

For the first few weeks Gran didn’t say anything as I moped around the house.  It wasn’t until a few days after New Year’s that she baked a plate of snickerdoodles, Eric’s favorite, and told me to take it over to him.

With the cookies in hand, I walked out of the house but I didn’t go to Eric’s. Nope.  Instead, I walked to the field where we used to watch the stars glitter at night and the sun rise in the morning and I ate the whole damn plate, sobbing between every bite. I was such a coward.

So pathetic and alone, but Eric deserved better than me.

Summer came and went by quickly and not a day went by that I didn’t think of Eric. When school started again, I dove into my studies and pretended not to notice the girls giving me dirty looks as they followed Eric around.  I found myself staring at him often and everytime he looked backed at me, he smiled.  Occasionally, he would come up to me and say hello, but being the smooth awkward teenage girl who was head over heels in love, I never said much back that wasn’t, ‘hey’ or ‘hi’,  and even then I stammered my words.

Every week or so there was a new blonde girl in Eric’s arm and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t care.  Oh, I cared.  A lot, but I had no right to. We weren’t friends anymore because I couldn’t tell Eric the truth and I absolutely couldn’t hang out with him and pretend that I wasn’t in love with him.  I hated my junior year of high school.

And if I hated my junior year I absolutely despised my senior year. Rumors of Eric and his exceptional skills in bed ran rampant in the school and it drove me insane.  Insane from jealousy, anger and worst of all, curiosity.

By then, Eric was the soccer and swim star of the school and had the records and muscles to prove it. All the guys wanted to be him and all the girls wanted to be with him.  We would still make eye contact every once in a while but long gone were the smiles.  In it’s place was something else that was intense and always made me look away

Whatever it was, it was dangerous and I didn’t know if I liked it or not.

One day when I had stayed after school to finish up a project for my honors course, I ran into Eric.  I guess ‘walked in on’ would be more appropriate.  On my way down the stairwell on the second floor I stopped dead in my tracks when I turned the corner and found Eric giving some bottle blond a soft kiss.

Eric stood facing me and the moment I turned that corner his eyes locked onto mine and darkened. I watched in complete horror and shock as he wrapped his arms around her and deepened the kiss.

Not once did his eyes leave mine.  Not when she moaned into his mouth and fisted his long hair.  Not even when he ground his hips into hers.  No.  He just stared at me, causing a deep throb to ripple between my legs and a terrible ache in my heart.

I hadn’t realized that I was backing up until I bumped into the wall.  My chest heaved with desire and hurt as I plastered myself to the cold wall.  It wasn’t until I heard a locker slam shut from down the hall that I was broke away from Eric’s intense gaze and ran back up stairs.  I found another stairwell to take.

Prom came and went as did graduation and before I knew it I was packing my things to get ready for the eight hour drive to campus I had in two days.  Unfortunately, Gran took a trip to North Carolina with her Descendant of the Glorious Dead club and wouldn’t see me off, but that was okay.  She had been looking forward to the trip all year and I wasn’t going to hold her back.  Needless to say I was shocked when I heard a knock at the front door.

I made my way to the door and when I opened it, I really wish I hadn’t.

“Eric?” I whispered as I held a hand over my fluttering heart.

There he stood with both hands leaning against the door jamb and an angry look on his face.  Or was it something else? I took quick note of the plaid button up shirt that stretched over his lean chest and of the jeans hung perfectly off his narrow hips.

“We need to talk,” was all he said before he pushed off the door frame and walked into my house, shutting the door behind him.

Eric’s jaw clenched and I swallowed hard as his eyes raked over me and narrowed. I didn’t know what else to do so I took a clumsy step back but he followed, never taking his angry eyes off mine.  I took another step back and again he stepped towards me, we did this one more time until I bumped into the banister and jumped.

“Why do you keep running from me?” he asked quietly, his accent thick on his tongue.

“I- I am not-” I stammered.

“Don’t lie to me Sookie,” he hissed and, making me  flinch.  His expression softened and he shook his head. “Are you afraid of me?”

“No,” I breathed. I was afraid of my feelings for him.

“Liar,” he whispered as he brought his hand up and traced my bottom lip with his index finger.  My breath hitched and I didn’t dare move.

“I am sorry, Sookie,” I thought I heard him say.

“Sorry for wh-”  The lips I dreamed about for years crashed onto mine and I trembled as his arms wrapped firmly around me. A traitorous whimper escaped my mouth and my eyes fluttered shut.  I let my hands glide up his firm chest before they settled behind his neck.

I gasped when I felt something hard pressing against my belly. Eric being the opportunist that he was, took that moment and slid his tongue into my mouth. He pushed and teased, flicked and moaned. When my knees gave out Eric had no problem taking on the extra weight.

He tasted like sweet apples and I wanted to have that for the rest of my life.

“Sookie,” he mumbled against my lips and began to kiss and nip along my jawline and down my neck. “You always smell like sunshine and honey.  So fucking sweet.”

A deep rumble emanated from his chest as he devoured my lips once more and ground his strained erection against me.  I touched every part of him that I’d denied myself of over the years and nearly cried.  Before I could make any sense of what was up and down, Eric abruptly ended our kiss and glared down at me.

“Eric?”  I whispered and watched as his eyes fluttered shut.  He looked as though her was in a great deal of pain.

When he opened his eyes, a sea of sorrow stared back at me and I felt as though I had been punched in the stomach.

“I had to know, Sookie.” he rasped as he tucked a loose strand of my hair behind my ear.

I parted my bruised lips to ask him what he meant but he silenced me with a soft kiss to my forehead.

“And now I know,” he murmured. Eric released me from his arms and took a step back. “Now I know,” he repeated and like a terrible nightmare I watched as Eric Northman walked out of my house and out of my life.

That was until today….

The Today

It took five years for me to get my Master’s degree in business and I took a job as marketing analyst at a mechanical contractor in Shreveport. It’s been six long years since I last saw Eric and not a day goes by without some thought of him.  For years I berated myself for being such a fool but I was just a kid.  A really dumb kid.

I did date someone while I was in college.  Sam Merlotte was sweet and soft spoken; a good guy really, but he wasn’t enough.  He wasn’t who I really wanted.  However, that boat sailed a long time ago and to this day I wonder what Eric ‘had to know’ when he kissed me.

A few years ago Eric’s father retired and Eric took over his company, NorthTech Inc. Over the next year NorthTech became a fortune 500 company and it was all because of Eric.  Not only did it put him in the spotlight in the business world, but he became somewhat of a celebrity for his good looks and bachelor status. Every picture of him had a different brunette or redhead hanging off his arm, and no woman was ever seen twice with him.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t buy every magazine and newspaper that he was featured in.  If I thought Eric was handsome when we were teenagers, he was magnificent as an adult.  Magazines described him as a ’Viking God’ or ‘Adonis’.  I simply referred to him as my Eric.

At five in the morning, I parked my car in the parking garage to our new building. Well, newish. My company relocated to the newly renovated Area 5 Building in downtown Shreveport.  With it’s prime location and twenty-three floors of metal, glass and clean, simplistic design, it was the most sought out business real estate.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that NorthTech Inc owned the building and occupied the top four floors?

Correction.   Eric Northman owned the building and I was almost positive his office was on the top floor.

We’d been in this building for six months and I had given up hope that I would catch a glimpse of Eric.  Not that I would know what to do or say to him if I did see him.   It’s been so long that I wondered if he would even remember me or recognize me.  I definitely didn’t resemble the girl I once was in high school.

My blonde hair was a few shades darker and I had grown a few inches over the years.  In my freshman year of college my body finally developed, but better late than never I suppose.  I had full breasts, shapely hips and a narrow waist.  Granted, I wasn’t a skinny little toothpick any more like I was in high school, but I was proud of my body and every curve I had.

“Good morning, Bubba,” I waved to guard in the lobby as I walked to the elevator.

“Mornin’ Miss Stackhouse,” he replied with a bright smile and a nod. “Gettin’ an early start today?”

“You know it!” I grinned and pressed the button for the elevator.

The shiny metal doors slowly opened and I stepped in and selected my floor.  I smoothed out my gray pencil skirt and black button up blouse as I readjust my feet in my three inch black heels.  My long blonde hair is down in gentle waves since I didn’t have time to pin up this morning.  That’s what I got for staying up too late to read just ‘one more chapter’ of my latest smutty romance novel.

Hey, don’t judge me.  A girl’s gotta get her kicks somewhere.

Contest polyvore

Since it was five o’clock in the morning I didn’t expect anyone else to be getting on the elevator so needless to say I was surprised when the elevator stopped at the 10th floor where the restaurants and coffee shops were.  I shuffled to the corner of the elevator to make room for the person or people coming in.

With a soft ‘ding’ the metal doors slowly opened and a tall man whose sole focus was on the smartphone in his hands, stepped in and turned to face the doors without sparing me glance.

I nearly fainted when I realized who this obilvious man was.

Eric Northman.

Oh my god.

My eyes hungrily took in the man before me and I bit my bottom lip to make sure this wasn’t another dream.  He wore a crisp black suit and black leather shoes. I can’t see the color of his shirt since his back is towards me, however, I notice that he still keeps his blonde hair in a low ponytail at the nape of his neck.

I should say hi or good morning, anything than just stand back here like a creeper.  For years I regretted how I ended our friendship.  I told myself over and over again that given the chance I’d try to make things right.

Apparently, that day was not today because my cowardice knew no bounds.

I’m pretty sure my heart stopped when I watched him sniff the air before he took a deep breath.  Eric tilted his head to the side but never looked back at me. His jaw line was strong and dusted with dark stubble that I itched to run my fingers over. The sharp angles of his cheek, brow and nose reminded me that this was man, not the boy I knew long ago.

The doors closed at an agonizingly slow speed then the elevator began it’s quick ascent.

I was vaguely aware of each floor we passed and wondered if he would turn and look at me before I had to get off. My lungs began to burn and my head was dizzy when I realized I had been holding my breath.

Breathe Sookie, breathe.

My back stayed glued to the back wall and it was apparent that I was incapable of tearing my eyes off him.

Ding

All too soon the doors opened on my floor and by some miracle I managed to push off the back wall and walk past Eric without tripping over my own feet.  However, when I heard Eric take another deep breath as I quickly walked by I nearly lost my footing.

I stepped out onto my floor and took three steps forward before I heard the metal door begin to close.

Don’t look back, Sookie.  Don’t you do it.

“Morning Sookie!” Alcide yelled from across the office lobby and I froze.

Shit.

Don’t look back, Sookie.  He probably isn’t even looking.  Why would he?  It’s not like he would remember you.

I don’t know what possessed me to do it, but against my better judgement I turned my head to the side, looked back and gasped.

His blue eyes burned into mine and his lips parted just as the doors closed on him, letting the elevator carry him up to his floor.  Unable to move, I stood frozen in place and continued to stare at the door as the realization of what just happened occurred to me.

Eric remembered me.

“Did you hear what I said, Sook?”  Alcide asked while he waved his hand infront of my face.  It has been three days since the incident at the elevator and I haven’t seen or heard from Eric.

3 days

72 hours

4320 minutes

And for all 259,200 seconds I have been completely miserable.  Not because I’ve had less than six hours of sleep over these past three days, but because there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that he remembered who I was.

“Hello? Earth to Sookie?” Alcide said.

“Hmmm?” I hummed.

What the hell was I doing?  I was a grown woman for heaven’s sake.  I should just march up stairs and say hi.  See how he’s been.  We’re both adults now and it’s time I got over this silly little crush.

Closure.  Maybe all I needed was closure and what better way to do that than to go talk to him right now.

“I asked you if you wanted to grab some dinner tonight after work.”

“Oh!” I brought back all my attention to the man that has been speaking to me for the past five minutes and stutter.

“I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to pass.”  I have lost count how many times Alcide has asked me out over the years.  I did take him up on it when I first started working here.  He took me to this nice little Italian restaurant on the other side of town.

Everything was going great until Debbie, his fiance, showed up.  A little detail  he neglected to mention to me before he asked me out. Curse words were shouted, food went flying and punches had been thrown. Needless to say we got kicked out of the restaurant and I took a cab home.

His smile faltered for only a second before it became bigger.  “No problem, Sook. Maybe next time,” he said then walked back to his office.

I looked down at my watch and noted that is was a couple minutes past noon.  Now would be a perfect time to go up there and do this. Less than five minutes later I stepped out of the elevator and walked up to the large receptionist desk, smiling at the pretty brunette sitting behind the desk.

“Hi welcome to NorthTech, how can I help you?” she asked politely.

“I’d like to speak with Eric Northman.”

“Do you have an appointment Miss..”

“Stackhouse, and no I don’t.”

The girl folded her hands on top of the desk and took a deep breath.  “I am sorry Miss Stackhouse, but you can’t see Mr. Northman without an appointment.”

The wind was sucked out of my sails and suddenly being up here seemed like a bad idea.  I backed away from the desk and the lack of sleep over the past three day immediately makes its presences known.

“Right. Of course.  Thank you.” I turned around and with a heavy heart and tired eyes, I went back to my office.

Friday finally arrived and with the ten hours of sleep I got the night before, I felt much better and surprisingly not as embarrassed about what happened at NorthTech. That didn’t mean I was going to try again but for once in my life at least I can say that I tried.

By 5:30, I was the last employee in the office and instead of staying until dinner time, I decided to go home and take a nice bath.  Maybe even watch a movie.  I collected my jacket and purse and walked to the bathroom before heading downstairs.

I set my things on the counter by the sink before taking the pins out of my hair.  With no brush in my purse, I used my fingers to try and straighten my long, wild mess and sighed when is was obvious it could not be tamed.

I was startled when the bathroom door opened behind me and my breath was snatched out of my lungs when Eric Northman walked in.  Some delirious part of my brain wanted to laugh at the sight of Eric in some obviously expensive suit, standing in the women’s  five stall bathroom with an angry look on his face.  The logical part of my brain told me to leave.

Instead of laughing or leaving, I just stared at him with wide eyes and waited for him to say something or do something.  Anything, just as long as he would stop looking at me like he wanted to bite my head off.

Why did he have to be so damned gorgeous? He wore a simple gray suit with a white shirt and black tie and I wanted more than anything to grab his tie and yank him down so I could kiss him.

So much for getting over my high school crush.

“Eric,” I finally said, unable to take the silence anymore.

“Sookie,” he replied and it was then that I noticed the years had made his voice sensual and deep.  There was a gravely quality that made my skin ripple with goosebumps and all the hairs on my body stand.

“Wh-what are you doing in here?” I took a step back, feeling like the room had suddenly shrunk in size.

“Just saying hello to an old friend.” The scowl on his face morphed into a smile and my mouth went dry at the beautiful sight.

The magazine photos did not do this man any justice.

“Interesting way to say hi,” I murmured as I fidgeted with my hands.

The sound of his laughter made my stomach tense and my heart race.  Suddenly I felt like the fifteen year old shy, awkward girl who didn’t have a clue.  Even almost a decade later I still didn’t have a clue.

Without turning around, Eric reached behind him and my heart stopped when he locked the bathroom door. His blue eyes raked over my body and I felt the heat on my cheeks spread down to my neck.  My blue dress felt too tight.

“What are you doing?” I asked, borderline panicked.

“Nothing,” he rasped and slowly stalked towards me.

“Eric,” My voice wavered as I took another step back.  It was becoming a familiar dance with us.

“Are you still afraid of me, Sookie?”

“No,” I breathed out.

“Liar,” he said with a smirk and took another step closer.

“Eric, unlock the door,”

“Why?” he asked, tilting his head to the side. “So you can run? I don’t think so.”  He took one last step and was inches away from me. I had to crane my neck to meet his eyes.

“I don’t ru-”

“Yes, you do.  Every.  Single.  Time.”

“Not every time,” I mumbled, remembering the night he kissed me and walked out of my house and out of my life.

“You would have if you were given the chance,” he told me and I wasn’t sure if he right or wrong.

To this day I still don’t know what I would have done if he didn’t walk away.  Maybe I would have confessed my heart’s deepest desire.  Maybe I would have told him that I loved him and that I pushed him away because I knew I wasn’t good enough for him. That I wasn’t strong enough to have pretended to be his friend while I was in love with him.  That it was all or nothing because I was too weak for anything in between.

Or maybe I would have run away like I did every other time.

“I went up to see you the other day,” I blurted out, surprised by my confession.

“I know,” he simply said, loosening his black tie.

We stood there staring at one another and I couldn’t take it anymore.

“Oh.” I cleared my throat and wet my lips. “Well, okay. This was nice. I uh, I guess I’ll see you around.”

I grabbed my purse, walked around him and headed straight for the exit, desperate to get some fresh air.  When I reached out to unlock the door, two large hands flanked either side of my head and pressed down on the door.

My back suddenly was on fire as I felt his chest brush my shoulder blades. Eric leaned down and dragged his lips across my cheek to my ear.

“Fortfarande så vacker,” he whispered and took a deep breath as I trembled from head to toe.  “You still smell like honey and sunshine, Sookie.”

I couldn’t hold it back any longer, a whimper forced itself out of my mouth and I turned to face him.  Our noses touched and our eyes locked onto one anothers, but he never leaned in to kiss me and neither did I.

“Eric?”

A deep growl rumbled in his throat and he closed his eyes for a moment before piercing through me again.

“Have dinner with me,” he said, glancing down at my lips. “Please,” he added.

“What?”  I asked, not sure if I heard him correctly.

“Dinner,” he repeated, his eyes flickered to my mouth one last time before the locked onto my eyes.  “We can catch up.”

I didn’t realize that I was nodding my head until Eric smiled and let out a relaxed chuckle.

“Thank you,” he whispered. With a daze, we exchanged information and I agreed to let Eric pick me up at my apartment tomorrow.

With a deafening click, Eric unlocked the bathroom door and before I could do anything he bent down and placed a warm lingering kiss on the corner of my mouth,

“I’ll see you soon, Sookie.”  And as quickly as he came, he left and I stood in the bathroom with my hand to my cheek that still tingled from Eric’s kiss. My heart pounded away in my chest and like a switch being turned on, I had an epiphany.

I was done running.

The Tomorrow

It was Saturday, late afternoon and I found myself doing everything I could to keep my mind off of dinner with Eric.  Books had been read; floors had been cleaned and not a speck of dust could be found in my apartment.  My place hadn’t been this clean since the day I moved in two years ago.

With about an hour a half till Eric arrived, I took my time in the shower, letting the hot water ease my tense muscles as it washed away the dirt and grime from my vigorous cleaning episode.  I’ve never been one for fancy clothes or tons of makeup so after I slipped on a simple white and red sundress, I massaged some moisturizer on my face and put on a coat of lip gloss.

Just as I found a pair of red sandals the doorbell rang.  Suddenly the calm I’ve felt all day vanished and answering the door seemed like an impossible task.

Oh get a grip, Sookie and answer the damned door. No more running, remember?

“Right, no more running.” I said to myself as slipped on my shoes and the unlocked the door.

A wall of black greeted me and my eyes traveled down before going up.  Scuffed black boots stood firmly apart and long gray jeans hung perfectly low on narrowed hips. Strong lines and curves of sculpted abs could be seen through the thin black shirt. Craning my neck back, my eyes crawled up and equally chiseled chest and shoulders.

A low chuckle snapped my eyes up and I look up into the face an amused Eric Northman.  My cheeks were on fire but there’s no going back now.

No more running, I reminded myself.

“Ready?”  I asked as I closed the door behind me and walked passed Eric.

“Absolutely,” Eric replied with a hint of mischief in his voice as he followed behind me. “You look beautiful by the way,” he whispered in my ear when he caught up with me, and then took my hand me to his car before I could reply.

Like a gentleman, Eric opened the door for me and closed it when I was completely inside.  I fiddled with the seatbelt as Eric started the car and pulled out onto mainstreet.  We stayed quiet for a few moments just watching the city go by us.

“Relax, Sookie,” Eric eventually said as he gently placed his hand on my knee, which I had been unconsciously bouncing.  His touch calmed and excited me all at once I swore I could feel it between my legs.

“It’s just me,” he continued.

“I know.”

“Do you?” he asked as he glanced over at me, never moving his warm his hand on my knee.

“Of course I do, Eric.  Who else could you be?” I laughed.

“Sometimes I wonder if you see me as someone else.”

I didn’t know what to say, so after a long minute of silence I changed the subject.

“Where are we going?” I asked, looking at Eric from the corner of my eye.  I could see the smile spread across his lips.

“I thought today would be a nice day for a picnic.”

I glanced out the window and noted the clear blue fall sky.  I loved days like these but why were we heading south on 49, leaving Shreveport behind us? There were plenty of parks in the city that we could go to… unless…

“We’re going to Bon Temps,” I said outloud, turning my head to look at him.

He glanced over at me with a grin and nodded.  “Yes, we are.”

“Why?”

“I still have some fond memories of our home, Sookie.  I’m sure you do too?”  He flicked his blinker on and took the exit for our hometown.

“I do, I’m just surprised I guess,” I replied with a shrug, pretending my stomach wasn’t twisting and turning. The soft music took over our silence and in the next twenty minutes we pulled up to a very familiar area.

My heart stopped as I took in the abandoned dirt road and tall willowy trees.

“Eric,” I whispered, gripping the door handle.

He put the car in park and cut the engine.  The trunk popped open I continued to sit there in shock.  We were at the field. Our field.  The place we would go to star gaze and talk about anything and everything.  The place where we used to watch the sun rise and fall asleep in each others arms.

This was….

Eric opened my door and helped me out.  I looked up at him with a frown.

“Why here?” I asked, letting go of his hand.

He grabbed the cooler and blanket, then took a look around.  With a deep breath he smiled and looked back down at me.  “I’ve missed this place.  Come on, let’s go set up.”

I nodded and followed him to a small clearing and helped him lay out a familiar looking quilt.

“Hey this–”

“Yup,” he grinned and flattened out the wrinkles.

“But how?” I asked, looking down at the hideous quilt we used to use in high school.  I had always thought that Gran threw the ratty thing away but never had the heart to ask.  There were some new patches that had been sewn on, but it still looked the same.

Well used and loved.

Eric sat down with his long legs spread out before him and patted the space next to him.

“You may not remember but the last time we used it, I knocked over the pitcher of ice tea on it and took it home to wash it.  It was the last time we actually spent time together.”

“Oh, right,” I said, remembering everything he said as though it was yesterday.

I sat down next to him and smoothed out my skirt before admiring the long lost, ugly quilt.

“Why did you keep it after all this time?”  I asked.  My hand skimmed over a new patch that was barely hanging on. “You hated this thing.”

“I couldn’t bear the thought of throwing it away and I didn’t have the heart to give it back to you,” he said then opened the cooler and took out a bottle of wine and two plastic cups.  “Wine?” he asked, changing the subject.

An hour later we finished off the bottle of as well as the sandwiches and fruit bowls he packed. I found that when I stopped overthinking and second guessing myself, our conversation flowed as easily as it did when we were fifteen years old.  We caught up with each other on what happened after high school. Though I didn’t have anything exciting to tell him, he was just as interested in what I had to say as I was interested in what he had to say.

If I hadn’t been so stubborn and scared, could it have been like this in high school?

“You know I never did understand what happened to us back then,” he said, taking the last sip of his wine.  “For years I tried to make sense of it all but–” He shook his head and sighed,  “I don’t know why you hated me, Sookie.”

“I never hated you, Eric.”  I said, appalled and shocked. “Never.”

“Oh come now, Sookie.  You absolutely did,” he snorted.  “One day everything was fine between us, we did everything together and suddenly you wanted nothing to do with me.  No matter how hard I tried to keep you… you didn’t want me anymore.”

“Oh, Eric,” I said, my heart broke with his every word.

How could I have done this to him?

I scooted closer to him and reached out for his hand before I lost my nerve.

“I was an idiot, Eric,” I told him, looking down at our hands since I was too nervous to look him in the eye.  “I made so many mistakes back then and the biggest one was pushing you away.”

Eric let go of my hand and my heart dropped.  He didn’t believe me.   I closed my eyes to keep the tears back.  I heard Eric shuffle on the blanket and for a moment I thought he was going to leave me there. I nearly yelped when he cupped my face and forced me to look at him.

I met his blue eyes and was shocked to see the hurt in them.

“Why, Sookie?” he asked.  “Why did you push me away?”

“Eric,” I croaked.  “I -I can’t.”

I couldn’t tell him…  not after so many years had passed.

“Please.”  His eyes searched mine for the answers he was looking for and I had to hold my breath to prevent a sob from escaping.

When I remained silent he sighed as he rubbed the pads of his thumbs over my cheeks.

“Fine, then let me tell you a story, Sookie Stackhouse.”

I looked at him, clearly confused but I didn’t interrupt.

“When I was fifteen years old, my father moved me across the world to a place that I was convinced was hell.  I had no friends, no other family, no one.  Every day was hot and humid and every day I wanted to go back home.  That was until I met this shy girl who stole my heart with a smile.”

I tried to look away but Eric wouldn’t let me.

“Look at me, Sookie,” he softly demanded.  “Look at me so you know what I say is true.”

I reluctantly opened my eyes, allowing my tears to silently trickle down my cheeks.  Eric brushed them away with his thumbs as he continued to hold my face.

“This girl made me smile,” he continued.  “She made me laugh and there was nothing that I wouldn’t do for her.  Every day I woke up to thoughts of her and every night it was her name I whispered before I fell asleep.  Then one day, she stopped talking to me.  One day she went from sharing her beautiful smiles and sweet laughter with me, to ignoring me as though I was a stranger.  This broke my heart.  She broke my heart.”

“Eric, I–” Eric silenced me with a soft kiss and for a brief moment, nothing else mattered.

“Let me finish Sookie,” he murmured against my lips and rested his forehead against mine..  “I tried to get her to tell me what was wrong but she refused.  I did all I could to keep our friendship alive but no matter what I did, nothing worked.  So I gave her what she wanted.  I tried to move on… I tried to replace her,” he confessed. “But quickly found out that nothing could replace the piece of my heart I had given away.”

A vicious sob escaped my lips and Eric kissed me once more.

“I don’t tell you this to hurt you, my beautiful Sookie,” he said.  “I tell you this because you need to know. I need you to know.”

My hands held onto his wrists and I felt that if I let go, the ground beneath me would crumble and and swallow me whole.

“Every faceless girl I have ever kissed, I pretended it was you.  Every forgettable girl I took to bed I always imagined it was you.  It was your name I cried out; your name that brought me to life.”

Eric kissed me hard then, and I whimper against his lips. He removed his hands from my face and wrapped them around my waist to bring me to his lap.  I straddled his thighs and snaked my arms around his neck. I didn’t deserve his kisses but I couldn’t stop.

“It was always you, Sookie,” he murmured, tightening his hold on me.  “To this day it has always been you. What happened to us?.”

Unable to look at him anymore, I buried my face into his neck and held him tight.

It was now or never.

“I was in l-love with you,” I finally said.

Silence.  My confession was greeted with deafening silence and I cringed as Eric’s body suddenly went rigid.

“Sookie,” Eric whispered.  “Why didn’t you ever tell me?”

“It would have ruined everything,” I confessed.  “I thought if I told you I was in love with you, it would have destroyed our friendship and I couldn’t pretend that I wasn’t in love with you if we had stayed friends. I thought that no matter what I did, I would lose you.  You deserved better than me and I–”

Eric pushed me away and I flinched at the angry glare in his bright blue eyes.  “You thought I deserved better? You were everything to me, Sookie.”

He cursed in Swedish and before I could apologize, he fisted my hair and roughly pressed his lips onto mine.  Suddenly I was on my back with Eric’s hips nestled between my legs, the hem of my skirt sat at my waist.

He still tasted like sweet apples.

“That wasn’t your decision to make,” Eric growled.  This teeth nipped at my bottom lip and he pulled away.

“I’m sorry,” was the only thing I could say.  I know it wasn’t my decision to make.  I know I should have told him the truth all those years ago but I didn’t.  I screwed up and if I could take it all back I would in a heart beat.  Because maybe if I wasn’t such a coward back then, maybe I would have seen that Eric felt more for me than just friendship.

Maybe he could have loved me as I loved him…

“I’m so sorry,” I repeated and held him tight.

“Never push me away, Sookie.  Promise me,” he hoarsely demanded.

I nodded and bit my bottom lip.

“Say it. Give me the words, Sookie,” he pleaded.

“I- I’ll never push you away.  Never again,” I swore.

Relief flooded his face and he smiled, his pointer finger traced my bottom lip.

“I’m so fucking angry at you, Sookie, but I’m also so fucking happy, too.”

“Happy?”  I questioned.

“You love me, Miss Stackhouse.”

I gasped and opened and closed my mouth over and over again, unsure how to respond to that.

“That was high school, Eric,” I told him.  “We’re not even the same people anymore.”

“We are still the same, just a little older.” He laughed and pecked my lips. “And if you’re still convinced that you don’t love me anymore, then I’ll just have to make you fall in love with me again.”

“Just like that?” I laughed.

“Yup. Just like that,” he grinned  “You’re mine, Sookie Stackhouse and there’s nothing you can do about it now.”

I smiled back in awe of this man.  How he could be so forgiving and why he would want me will always remain a mystery to me but I was okay with that.

“Eric,” I said as I brushed a few loose strands of his hair from his face and tucked it behind his ear.

“Yes, Sookie,” he replied with a tone that was laced with desire and promise.

“All those years ago, when you first kissed me,” I paused as I wetted my lips.  “What did you have to know?”

Eric’s eyes softened and he hummed.

“I had to know if I really was crazy in love with you.”

“Oh!” I blushed.  Never in a thousand years had I ever expected that answer.

“And you know what?” he whispered. “I knew that the moment I touched your lips that you were the only woman I would ever love.”

“Eric.” I didn’t know what to say.

“You’re it for me, Sookie.  And if I have to spend the rest of my life chasing you down and convincing you the truth in my word, I will.”

The power of his words stuck my like an arrow, and I bit back the tears that threatened to invade my eyes.

“I’m done running, Eric.” I cupped his cheek and brushed my lips against his.

“Then let’s begin our happily ever after,” he said with a scorching kiss.

A happily ever after indeed.


Thank you to my wonderful beta who I’ll name after the voting is over.  You are amazing.  Thank you Huggles

 

 

Comments

      1. Such a wonderful story! I should have known it was yours! Congratulations on your first place win! I loved this one, and it truly was beautifully written. Congrats again on a very well-deserved win!

  1. Omg this is my favorite! I have actual tears in my eyes from this!! When Eric told Sookie his story..ugh just so perfect and heartbreaking. I have narrowed my list of talented writers down to three that I think wrote this awesome one shot. I would love to read a few more chapters of this for sure!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! However, now I am super curious… who did you think wrote this 😉

  2. Beautifully done! I’m not usually a fan of AH stories, but this one just rocked. So sweet, so sincere…..if only love was like that….

    1. I thought about rewriting it so the ‘seduction’ would be drawn out, but I need to finish ‘Finally’ and start working on my colab with Gyllene. Maybe one day 🙂

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