“I’m sorry, what?” I asked, shocked.
“I want to get married. Sooner than later.” She grinned. “She took the joy out of our being engaged; I couldn’t even think about our future. And while I’d enjoy a year planning our perfect wedding down to the last detail, I’d much rather become Mrs. Northman as soon as possible.”
“Mrs. Northman?” I grinned, loving the sound of it. “Well, I’m not going to argue with you and slow things down. Let’s do it.”
She bit her lip. “Will you be okay without a big church wedding?”
“I’ll be fine.” I laughed.
“Your mom won’t be.”
I put my hand on her cheek. “My mom does not factor into planning this wedding, even though she thinks she does.”
Sookie smiled and sat up on her knees excitedly, almost bouncing on the couch. “When can we do it?”
I sat up a little straighter as well, turning my body to face her. “I don’t know, tonight? We can drive to Vegas.”
“Oh. I don’t know about that.” She wrinkled her nose.
I shook my head and grinned. “Sook, if you want a quickie wedding, Vegas is the place to go.”
“No. Not Vegas.” She paused, and then her eyes got wide. “What about New Years Eve?”
“You just want me to tell you what we’re doing! That’s what this is about!”
“No, that’s not it!” She threw her head back, laughing. “But New Years Eve would be perfect!”
Since it was our first New Year together, I made special plans for us and was keeping it a secret. I’d booked our trip even before Sophie Anne had left Sookie those messages, wanting us to have a special start to the coming year.
“Okay,” I said thinking things through. “Do you trust me?”
“Of course I do.”
I laughed. “I mean about wedding stuff.”
“Oh.” She paused and grinned. “Maybe?”
I sighed. “Here’s what I’m willing to tell you. Where we are going for New Years is totally conducive to a wedding. It is also somewhere that we can plan it all when we get there.”
“What about a dress?”
“You’d be hot in a full wedding gown there.”
She raised her eyebrows. “Really?”
She grinned. “So, we could get married on the beach or something?”
“Or something,” I said, still not willing to give up the secret location. I just had to keep my mouth shut for two and a half weeks.
“Are you serious about this? I mean, you’d be okay if we got married with no one else there?” she asked hesitantly.
“I just told you we could drive to Vegas today. I’m ready when you are.”
“And Pam will be okay with it?”
“Although she acts like it, Pam is not an essential person in our wedding.”
“I know.” She laughed, hitting my arm. “But you know, she’ll need to do some publicity.”
“And she will. We’ll text her a picture.”
I stopped for a minute, realizing it was more than the publicity she was talking about. “Do you want Pam there?”
She shrugged. “No more than I want Amelia there, but it seems like Pam would be more useful to you.”
I smiled. I understood if she wanted Amelia there. Hell, I’d pay for her to join us if it made Sookie happy. “I’ll talk to Pam about it, and we’ll see.”
“I’ll call Amelia.”
I narrowed my eyes at her. “You can call her, but I’m not telling you where we’re going.”
“Well, what am I going to tell her?”
“Tell her whatever you want, Sook. I’m going to call Tray, and we’ll set everything up.”
“Are we really doing this?”
“I think so.” I grinned. “I’ll call and get an appointment set up with a wedding planner for when we get there. And you’re cool not letting anything slip to my mom on Christmas?”
“I am so cool with that. She would crush me with questions and guilt if told her anything.” She giggled as she crawled into my lap. “I’m pretty excited about this.”
“I know. Me too.” I put my arms around her and held her close. “It’ll be weird to hear people call you Mrs. Northman at first, that’s my mom.”
“Ha ha. Yeah. That’s what Tray said when he and Amelia first got married.”
I leaned back a little to look at her. “Sookie, do you want me to call your brother?”
“The wedding?” I asked, like it was obvious.
“Oh. Um. I don’t think so. I mean, he’s called a couple of times this last month, and that’s been okay, but I’m not sure I’m ready for him to be a part of this.”
“I hate to say it, but he won’t get another chance at seeing you get married.”
She threw her head back and laughed. “You’re right, but he was at the first one and look how well that turned out.” She snorted. “Thank you, but I don’t think I’m ready for that yet. I mean, I hadn’t talked to him more than once a year before I made the tabloids with you. He didn’t even call when I left him a message that I was getting divorced. We just drifted really far apart after Gran died. It will take a while to get close to him again.”
I sighed. “I just wanted to make sure.”
“Thank you. Are you sure you’re going to be okay if your family isn’t there? I mean, you’re a tight knit group.”
I smiled. “It’s fine, Sook. Guys aren’t like girls. The only thing I think about when I imagine our wedding is you.”
“Aw. I don’t know if you’re just saying that, but it’s really sweet.” We both laughed, and she snuggled her face into my neck. “What are we going to do this afternoon?”
“I can think of a few things.” I waggled my eyebrows. “Let’s go back to bed, Lover.”
“Go to bed?” She giggled, pulling my shirt over my head. “What’s wrong with right here?”
I laughed. “Not a thing, but let’s dead bolt the door so Pam doesn’t walk in again.”
“Good plan.” She walked to the front door and flipped the lock and then began a slow, sexy strip tease as she came back towards me.
At some point, we made it to the bedroom and then at some point we found ourselves in the shower. Much later, we raided the refrigerator for a midnight snack that we eventually ate after having more amazing sex on the kitchen counter.
We hid in the house most of the next day., acting like it was any other Saturday, lounging around before we went out in the evening, except we were reading the tabloid recaps of Sophie Anne’s arrest and watching grainy video footage of the encounter on the PopSugar website. It probably wasn’t healthy, but as Pam said, it was better to be prepared than be blindsided, so both Sookie and I wanted to see the press coverage of Sophie Anne’s dramatics.
I was a little pissed that none of the photographers had tried to stop Sophie Anne as she approached Sookie. She didn’t seem threatening when she walked up, but I knew that they were all aware of what had been going on, and I couldn’t believe they had all just watched it happen. I guess I shouldn’t have expected them to forfeit such great video. It was their bread and butter, and these opportunities didn’t come along all that often.
Sookie had only seen the video clip once before I told her I didn’t know if was a good idea for her to keep watching it, but I had see it several more times when she left the room. I watched Sophie Anne carefully, trying to judge what I thought she was capable of, and I just didn’t know. I considered calling Pam to get the details of the threats Sophie Anne had made while on her ride to the station, but I thought maybe it was better not knowing, mainly because Sookie didn’t need to hear it, and I didn’t want to keep it from her.
While Sookie took a nap, I made calls to Tray and Pam, who were a little surprised by our idea for a wedding, but both were on board with adjusting their plans to share the day with us. They were sworn to secrecy regarding the location, and I made it clear that we were not telling our families, well, aside from them, since we truly considered them family. I was a little afraid that Pam would be upset that we weren’t making a big production of our wedding. I would change things, but I didn’t want to have to listen to her talk about how great it would look in the media and how my fans would love it. I figured my fans wanted me to be happy, and I was going to keep telling myself that.
She made a joke about still needing to decide whose side of the aisle she’d stand on, and I knew she wasn’t upset. She’d work through whatever issues she had with our plans and be fine. I asked her to look into finding us a wedding planner. She was basically a man without a penis, but she was more woman than Alcide, and I trusted her to keep my fiancés interests in mind.
I fielded phone calls from my family throughout the day. I’d called Chris quickly the previous day before things hit the internet and given him the rundown, asking him to call everyone. My mom was pretty freaked out and kept asking to talk to Sookie. I was being rather protective and lied, saying she was in the shower when in fact she was standing next to me shaking her head and mouthing, “No.”
Sookie and I had discussed whether or not we should go out for the night or cancel our plans. Regardless of Pam’s comments that it would look good in the press, Sookie actually wanted to go. She didn’t want to cancel on our friends, and she thought being out would help keep her mind busy, off of worrying about crazy actresses and quickie weddings that she couldn’t actually plan yet.
We were invited to Ben and Jen’s holiday party, and Jen had been an amazing support for Sookie. She’d been through some similar things, as well as some even scarier situations, with a stalker fan for over six years. She’d eventually been granted a permanent restraining order against him, which he violated when he was spotted outside her children’s day care center. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity and had been institutionalized. It didn’t really give me a good feeling about things as far as Sophie Anne was concerned, but she truly understood Sookie’s fears, and it made her feel better when they spoke.
Ben had met me for lunch one day as well. He’d been full of information about security and had given me a few names of body guards to check into. My favorite suggestion from him had actually been a useless one, but it had pretty much solidified our friendship in my eyes.
“I might know some guys in Boston who could, you know, take care of things if you wanted.”
It took all of a second for me to comprehend, and I gave him a wry smile. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
He smirked. “I might know some guys near Chino, too. I’m just saying.” We both laughed, and he shrugged. “What can I say? I’m a guy with blue collar roots living a black tie life.”
I nodded, thinking it wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be, as we sat discussing protecting the women we loved from crazy people, but I also knew were reaping the benefits of our careers. Celebrity was a double edged sword.
We decided that we weren’t going to hide at home, especially since we knew Sophie Anne was locked up for at least the next twenty-four hours. We showered, and I was pulling on my jeans when Sookie came out of the bathroom looking ridiculous. She was wearing black stretch pants with a red sweater that was a couple sizes too big for her and covered in a pattern of tiny snowflakes. Each flake had sequins and beads sewn into the middle of it to make the sweater sparkle. I couldn’t help but laugh at her.
She raised an eyebrow. “Really? You’re going to laugh at me before you see the sweater you’re wearing?”
I cringed. “Is it that bad?”
She walked to the closet and came out with a very large red sweatshirt type thing that she shook out like a flag. She grinned at me and held it up to reveal a cartoon elf on the front of it with a bell on the end of his hat. Below him was the phrase “Santa’s little helper.”
“Fucking Alcide,” I growled.
She laughed. “Hey, don’t blame him. He had a hard time finding something large enough for you. His options were limited.”
I raised an eyebrow at her. I didn’t believe for a moment that there hadn’t been something better than this. “You’re sure this is what we’re supposed to wear?”
“You saw the invitation. It said to wear an ugly holiday sweater.”
“I’m wearing something underneath this. If I get hot I’m taking it off.”
“Sure thing.” She laughed as she put in a pair of obnoxious Christmas bulb earrings.
We had a car and driver for the night, mainly because we’d had a hell of a week, and the last thing we needed was me being carted off for drunk driving, but also because I didn’t think there was a chance in hell I’d make it through the evening wearing this god awful outfit if I had to stay sober.
Sookie ran a brush threw her hair and I grinned. She looked hot even in that crazy sweater. The sight of her in those stretch pants was going to be torture. I told her how good she looked and said I’d have to keep an eye on her or Matt Damon might try to steal her from me.
She tsk’d at me, “Silly boy. His wife just had a baby. They won’t be there.”
I laughed and asked her if she still wanted to go.
“Of course I still want to go. It makes me happy to see you get all fanboy.”
“Fanboy? Over Ben?” I laughed.
She smiled and stepped closer, stretching up to kiss me. “Jen told me Don Cheadle is coming.”
I laughed as I pulled her into my arms. “I’ll try not to embarrass you.” I leaned down and kissed her again, thinking I really wouldn’t have minded if she wanted to stay home. I could have kept her more than busy all night long.
The doorbell rang and we broke apart grinning. She straightened her hair and we went out to meet the driver. We enjoyed the drive, looking at Christmas lights and laughing as we talked about the best and worst gifts we’d received over the years.
The car dropped us off, and we followed Reese Witherspoon and her boyfriend, who were both wearing snowman sweaters, into the house. The house was tastefully decorated, which was in complete contrast with the tacky sweaters on all of the guests. Not to be outdone, Ben and Jen were wearing matching Rudolph sweaters with red noses that actually lit up.
We mingled as Sookie sipped on a Candy Cane martini, and I drank a beer, saying hello to everyone and pretending not to hear the murmurs of pleasant surprise at seeing us there. Sookie had been right, Don Cheadle was there, and I was floored when he called me by name. Sookie just squeezed my waist and smiled back at him, saying how great it was to see him again. Someone called his name and he turned away, then said over his shoulder that he’d talk to us later. I couldn’t stop smiling, and Sookie gave me a look that clearly said, “I told you so.”
We continued to move amongst the other guests and eventually settled in, chatting with Toby and Jennifer Maguire, Amanda Anka and Jason Bateman. After quietly asking if Sookie was okay, the conversation moved on to plans for the holidays and New Years Eve. Jennifer and Amanda thought it was romantic that I was surprising Sookie with our plans, and we both just grinned like fools, thinking they had no idea how romantic it would actually be.
Sookie asked what they had gotten their kids for the holidays, and Jennifer and Amanda told great stories about their children. I smiled down at Sookie, knowing how badly she wanted to be a mother. We hadn’t really talked about when we wanted to start a family specifically, but I had a feeling we were both thinking about starting shortly after we said, “I do.”
I left Sookie for a while when Ben was showing off his poker room. When I came back to the living room, she was standing off to the side with Jen talking quietly, then they hugged and stepped back, laughing and smiling. Sookie glanced up and saw me watching, giving me a small wave. We walked towards each other, and she stepped into my arms. She giggled and sloshed a little of her drink on the floor, and I wondered how many of the festive cocktails she’d had. Her hand slid up under my sweatshirt, gently moving up my chest. She bit her lip, and looked up at me. I’d almost forgotten how horny drunk Sookie was.
“I think I’m ready to go home.”
“I ready to take you. Home that is.” I winked.
She stood on her toes and ran her nose up my neck. “Take me.”
I grabbed her hand and walked towards the door, setting my beer down on an entry table, then taking her martini out of her hand and depositing it next to my half empty bottle. We stepped outside, and the valet called for the car. The driver arrived, and we rode home in silence, giving each other sly looks, anxious to be alone. When we made it to the house, I picked her up and put her over my shoulder. I took her inside, and then I took her, over and over again.
We woke late, and I was anticipating Sookie’s hangover, but after a cup of coffee she was fine. We read the paper, showered, and went to Whole Foods together. It was a nice day, with only a hint of anxiety over Sophie Anne’s release. Late in the afternoon, Sookie was in the kitchen baking cookies and making lists of things she needed to do, pack, or get before the holidays and our New Years get-away-wedding. We were waiting to find out if Sophie Anne was being released from the hospital or if they were going to keep her longer. The police couldn’t tell us anything, so we were waiting for her people to make some kind of statement, or for Pam’s elves in the tabloid world to get the scoop and leak it to us minutes before TMZ went on the air with it.
When Sookie put the final tray of cookies in the oven, my phone rang, playing “Legs” by ZZ Top, and our eyes met.
“Do you want it on speaker?” Sookie nodded, and I answered. “Northman.”
“She’s out,” Pam said in a sing-song voice and then continued normally. “But not for long. Her mother is taking her directly to a private facility for additional care.”
“Her mother?” Sookie asked, raising an eyebrow at me.
“Yeah, I know. Apparently Blackhart has refused to comment and now this? It’s not a good sign, but who knows.”
“What else?” I asked, knowing she had more to say but Sookie had sidetracked her with gossip.
Pam sighed. “I have a lead on the discharge papers, but nothing has been confirmed. My guy said I’m the first call when he gets them. He owes me; the photos he’s made off of my tips have made him a lot of money.”
I rolled my eyes even though she couldn’t see me. It was such a ridiculous game in Hollywood.
Sookie sighed. “So that’s all we know for now?”
“Yes. Diane is being pretty tight lipped, but she wanted you to know that they’re trying to get her some help. She appreciated that we didn’t just throw Sophie Anne under the bus.”
“We should have,” I muttered. Sookie smacked me on the arm, and I laughed. “Alright. Thanks, Pam. Keep us in the loop.”
“I always do. Later.”
I hung up the phone and leaned down, putting my elbows on the counter and looked across at Sookie who had taken a seat on a barstool.
It wasn’t big news, but the fact that Sophie Anne wasn’t going to be wandering the streets of Hollywood for a little while longer made me feel better. I had no idea what Sookie was feeling.
She smiled. “It’s good. I mean, they’re going to figure out what’s wrong with her and hopefully she’ll get help.”
“We might never know why. You know that, right?”
“She might not get better, either. I mean, she’ll be in therapy for a while, and she’ll have to do what they tell her to, and I don’t really see her following through with anything.”
“That’s kind of depressing.”
“Sorry.” I gave her a sad smile. “I’m just thinking ahead. I’m going to upgrade the security system.”
“I want to take a self-defense class.”
I grinned. I was so happy to hear her say that, I’d been nervous about her reaction if I suggested it.
“That sounds great. My gym has some classes. We could go together. I could workout while you take your class.”
“Is there a discount for married couples?”
I chuckled and nodded, as I started to walk around the kitchen island to stand near her. “It is cheaper than getting memberships for two singles.”
She tried to keep a straight face. “Good thing we’re getting married then, eh?”
I put my arms around her and leaned forward to kiss her. “Yeah. It’s a very good thing.”
I think I would trust Eric with some of the wedding plans. What do you think? Hee hee.
After pre-reading, TVgirl asked if Ben and Jen really have an ugly sweater party at the holidays. The answer is: I have no idea. But if they don’t they should!
Thanks for reading! Take a minute to review – and I’ll do my best to get back to you!
Candy Cane Martini Recipe (This site has some awesome martini recipes!)