For your holiday shopping list: Matt Damon is a big supporter of www.water.org, and his brother helped design these limited edition water bottles that are for sale. You know Sookie has one!
Thanks as always to the Beta-ladies: A Redhead Thing and Sapfirerose. Thanks to TVgirlSVM_ for helping me with some more details about Hollywood events. (She made us a couple of diagrams for this chapter too! They’re at the bottom of the chapter if you want to check them out.
Thanks to everyone for your reviews last week! Glad you all loved the New Years party and the remainder of the honeymoon. Now, back to the real world.
Getting home from our honeymoon was worse than returning from any other vacation I’d ever been on. We were met with a wall of paparazzi as soon as we got out of the airport, and there had even been a few photographers inside as well.
There was a lovely note from Bill waiting at the house that read, “You’ve done it now,” which irritated the hell out of me, because what did that mean? Things were over. We’d had that conversation, ad nauseum, and now he sends me a note like that? I had to believe it was more than just his penis that made Bill such a jackass.
We had also managed to come home to awards and gala season. The People’s Choice Awards were two days after we returned from Hawaii, and Eric decided to skip it, but the Heaven Gala, the Golden Globes and its after parties, as well as the Screen Actors Guild Awards and its festivities, were a must for someone like Eric. He was on a hit show, but he was still establishing himself with the real movers and shakers in Hollywood.
I had managed to escape talking to Eric’s mom for forty-eight hours after we returned home. She called my cell phone directly, asking about ordering pictures from the wedding and whether or not she could get a copy of the ceremony on DVD. We had a good conversation, and she made sure to tell me she didn’t blame me for ‘running away to Hawaii with Eric,’ which I knew really meant that she did, but she was at least being civil and joking that I’d saved us both a lot of work on a more formal wedding. I knew Eric had been exactly right that she would spend the entirety of our first pregnancy watching me like a hawk.
Eric went back to work the same day Elsa called, and Bloodlust filming got back into full swing. He worked his vampire hours, which left me in charge of some final steps to our marriage; like changing my name on every freaking piece of identification and credit card that I had, meeting at the bank and the lawyer’s office because Eric insisted on adding me to his account, getting me a life insurance policy, and paying off my student loan, just to name a few things. There was this never-ending list that I was checking things off of. I had totally forgotten how much paperwork there was to deal with after a wedding. Although, I had to admit that I was kind of giddy about my student loan being taken care of; I had figured I’d be paying that loan until I died.
About a week and a half into the whirlwind Eric came home relatively early from the set, around 9 p.m., grabbed my phone and turned both it and the television off and moved my laptop onto the coffee table.
“Lover, you need to relax.”
“I’m working.” I tried not to sound irritated.
He sat down next to me and turned me around, pulling my legs onto the couch and taking me in his arms so we were stretched out next to each other.
“And you need to stop.” We were face to face, his hand resting on my side. “What has you so worked up? How can I help you?”
I looked into his eyes, and it was if it was the first time I’d stopped moving since we got home. “I’m just overwhelmed.”
“With what?” He didn’t sound exasperated or angry, just really concerned. I hated that even for a fraction of a second I still expected him to react the way Bill would to things.
I closed my eyes and snuggled up to his chest, tucking my head into the crook of his neck. “I don’t know. Nothing. Everything?” I mumbled.
“Baby, you don’t have to do it all now, and I don’t know why you’re in such a rush.”
And then it hit me, Eric hadn’t left me to do everything; he just wasn’t worried about it getting done immediately. I wanted to laugh, and I really wanted to cry, because all of my stress and the pressure to get everything taken care of was because of Bill. He had been adamant that I take his name and that everything, except my student loan, be in the name of Sookie Compton. Living with him had been miserable until I got it all taken care of. I had assumed, without a second thought, that Eric felt that same urgency.
I kissed him on the neck, wrapping my arms around him for a tight hug. “I love you.”
He chuckled, his chest rumbling against mine. “What’s going on, Lover?”
“Nothing. I just needed to get a little perspective.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Neither do I half the time.” I laughed. I did not want to tell him that I had thought he was anything like Bill, but I knew I had to say something. “I just got carried away. I put pressure on myself that I didn’t need to.”
“Sookie, you’ve got to stop thinking you’re in this alone. Okay? It’s you and me now. Christ, Alcide would have helped you if you’d asked.”
I laughed. Alcide had been really sweet, more so than I expected, when we got back. He’d gotten us a monogrammed throw blanket for the living room as a wedding gift and had done all of our laundry and restocked the fridge while we were gone. Since the day at Joan’s he had been more comfortable with me, and when we returned from Hawaii he almost seemed to be respectful of me. He called out when he came into the house to let me know he was there and even told me when he was leaving and asked if there was anything I needed him to do. I was still getting used to it.
I exhaled. “I know. Really. I think I just forgot for a minute.”
“A minute?” He laughed. “How about a week and a half?”
I sighed and tried not to laugh. “Yeah. Maybe that long.”
“Okay, you’re taking a break tonight. No more work, no more worrying. I’ve got some movies and popcorn.”
“Yep. You can have your own bowl of popcorn so you can mix in the M&M’s just the way you like.”
“What movies did you get?”
He laughed. “Date Night and The Bourne Supremacy.”
I snorted. “I own the Bourne movies, silly.”
“I wasn’t sure, and I didn’t know what you’d want to watch. I got funny and Matt.”
“Like he’s his own category.” I giggled.
“He is. Isn’t he?” Eric teased. He sat up and pulled me with him. “Come on. Let’s get the popcorn going and make drinks. I got some tonic and limes for you.”
We made our popcorn and drinks and settled back in on the couch to watch Date Night since Eric hadn’t seen it yet. I snuggled next to him, and we sat together watching and snacking until I gave up and put everything on the coffee table so we could lie down. I don’t think I lasted more than ten minutes wrapped in his arms before I fell asleep.
Since Bloodlust had been nominated for a Golden Globe, Eric and I kicked off the festivities by attending the Heaven Gala. It was a black tie event that was held annually the night before the Globes to benefit the Art of Elysuim, a non-profit that encouraged working actors, artists, and musicians to give time and talent to children with serious medical conditions.
The Gala would be our fist official appearance as husband and wife, and I wanted it to go off without a hitch. I dug through my closet and found a Calvin Klein cocktail dress that I hadn’t worn for anything in California yet. It was emerald green and knee length with allover shutter pleating and a straight neckline across my chest.
I tried it on for Eric, and he grinned.
“Will this work?”
He looked at me in confusion. “You look great. What else do you need?”
I rolled my eyes.
“If you need more than that, you’ve come to the wrong man.”
“Thanks, baby.” I laughed. “I’ll ask Pam.”
She was her honest self. “It’s a cocktail dress. There’s nothing spectacular about it, but it’s fine, and it looks good with your tan. No one really cares what you’re wearing anyway. You’re still just Eric’s plus one, even if you are married now.”
The day of the Gala, I primped and had Martini do my hair and make-up, and Eric let her approve of his hair. We took a chauffeured car to the Beverly Hilton, and walked into the party to be photographed from every angle and shouted at like side-show freaks. I still didn’t know which events had actual interview lines for Eric and which ones were just stand and shoot photo lines, and this was apparently the latter.
The night went by as most of these parties seemed to; Eric schmoozed and chatted with other people in the industry, and I drank fairly heavily, flanked by Daph, Holly and a couple of other cast members’ girlfriends. The next night, Eric went to the Golden Globes, where he walked the red carpet and told everyone how happy we were, which made me grin as I watched from the bar at the In Style magazine viewing party. Eric met me there after the awards. Bloodlusthadn’t won, but Eric didn’t let his disappointment show. We had a drink there with some people who hadn’t gone to the awards and then headed to Circa55 for an after party.
The weekend was a haze of flashbulbs, sequins, and parties. Eric was fairly uncomfortable with all of the attention he got in such a short span of time, and I had to laugh. For someone whose job it was to stand in front of a camera and be filmed everyday, he did not like being the center of attention, and I loved it about him.
Over the course of several weeks of parties we had settled back into a pattern. Eric went to the set everyday for work, and I ran to the office when I had to or visited restaurants and markets that I needed to review. Eric went with me to restaurants when he could, and other times I went by myself or I invited Martini or one of my other friends along. When we didn’t have events to attend on the weekend, we relaxed together, watching movies, painting the guest room and hanging out with friends.
With the onslaught of awards season came the realization that I had two weeks to figure out what to get Eric for Valentine’s Day. Since Bloodlust was still filming we couldn’t go out of town, but I wanted it to be special. Not only was it our first married Valentine’s Day, it was our first Valentine’s Day together at all, which seemed a little strange to think about, because I felt like he was such a major part of my life. It seemed impossible that we were still having firsts, but we were.
After much deliberation, I came up with gifts for Eric that I knew he would love. Hockey tickets, homemade key lime pie, and another little surprise. Valentine’s Day was on a Monday, so Eric and I planned to celebrate the Saturday before.
Daph invited me to check out the new yoga studio she was going to, so we made plans for the morning class and then grabbed brunch before heading home. I’d been debating what to wear for days since Eric wouldn’t tell me where we were going for dinner. It was irritating because he knew I hated surprises, and he’d just smile and say he knew me well enough to know that I would like it. The worst part was that he was probably right, but I still wasn’t happy about it.
Eric was gone when I got back to the house. He’d left a note that simply said, ‘Back soon!’ I had no idea where he’d gone, but laughed a little thinking he was probably last minute shopping.
When he walked through the door an hour and a half later I was proven right, but not in the way I thought. He came in carrying grocery bags and grinning.
“What is all of that?” I laughed.
“Ingredients.” He waggled his eyebrows, and I laughed even more.
“Ingredients for what?”
“Way back when you had amnesia, I told you that my special dish was chicken noodle soup.”
“Yes…” I stretched the word out. I knew that, but I couldn’t imagine that he was making it for Valentine’s Day.
“Well, I’m branching out.” He pulled out a couple of packages wrapped in white butcher paper and then a cardboard box with holes in it and put them in the refrigerator. “Steak and lobster.”
“Really? That’s impressive.”
“Or it will be awful, but I’ve watched a ton of you-tube videos on how to cook the lobster so I think we’ll be okay.” He continued to unload his bags, putting away the ingredients for a mixed salad and a head of broccoli. “I feel confident I can do everything except make your sauce for the broccoli, but I didn’t think you’d mind.”
I grinned. “Not at all.” It was an easy lemony mock Hollandaise sauce that I had gotten Eric hooked on.
“Okay. You know what’s for dinner, now you can decide if you want to get dressed up or stay casual. Your choice.”
I bit my lip and squinted at him like I was really thinking about it, but really, it was no contest. Sweats and t-shirts would always win out. “Do we have to wear clothes at all?”
He barked a laugh. “Lover, I always prefer you without any clothes on, but I wouldn’t want you to get burned in the kitchen.”
“Aw. You’re so thoughtful. I’m sure you know what my answer is. I’m going to shower and change back into some clean sweats.”
He smiled. “I figured, but I wanted you to decide.”
I stretched up and kissed him. “Lobster and sweats aren’t a typical combination, but I think we can make it work.”
“Mm. I’m sure we can. You go shower, and I’ll finish up a couple of details, and then I’ll get started cooking.”
I showered and dried my hair and then headed back to the kitchen in comfy sweats and a bejeweled Mrs. Northman t-shirt that Amelia had given me. I had the thong on too, which Eric loved, but he wouldn’t get to see that until later.
When I joined him, he was cutting vegetables for the salad and had a huge stock pot on the stove heating water to a boil. “Can I help?”
He leaned towards me, angling his head, and I giggled, kissing his cheek.
“Why don’t you make your sauce, and then you can toss the salad.”
We worked together, and though I knew he wanted to cook for me, I helped make sure he had everything timed so that it would be ready at the same time. I bit back a laugh watching him go through the motions once, practicing before actually using the chef’s knife to crack open the lobsters. I loved that he had watched you-tube to learn how to make our Valentine’s dinner.
He put Nina Simone on the iPod, and we sat down to a delicious meal. There were no candles and no maitre d’; but there weren’t any paparazzi or fangirls wanting autographs and pictures of my husband either. Eric hadn’t mentioned dessert, and I had a feeling we would have dueling sweets to put on the table. Although, I was going to be so full that we might have to rest and then work off some dinner before I had room for it.
We finished eating and he smiled, taking my hand across the table. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Lover. The first of many.”
“Count on it, buddy.”
“Ugh.” He leaned back in his chair, stretching, and then stuck his stomach out and rubbed it with his hands. “I got dessert too, but there’s no way I can eat any of it right now.”
I smiled. “Yeah, well, part of your Valentine’s Day present is dessert.”
“Give me a little while to let my food settle.”
His mind always went to sex. “No, really. I made dessert.”
“Really? What did you make?”
“Key lime pie.”
He groaned. “I love key lime pie.”
“I know!” I laughed. “That’s why I made it, goofball. What did you get?”
“The chocolatiest cake I’ve ever seen. They called it Death by Chocolate, and I figured you would die happy.”
It was my turn to groan. “Okay. We can’t eat it now. Let’s clean up, and I can give you your other gifts, and we’ll plan on a late night dessert.”
“Only if we’re naked. And you a have gift, too.”
“You didn’t have to.”
“I know. Neither did you.”
We cleaned up the kitchen and loaded the dishwasher, and then Eric led me to the living room. “Have a seat while I go get your present.”
“Okay.” I laughed, popping back up as soon as he disappeared down the hall to get his present from the drawer where I had stashed it.
He came back with a gorgeous gift bag and a vase of roses that I had no idea where he had kept hidden. He grinned and handed me the flowers. “For you.”
“You’re welcome,” he said as he sat down across from me. We were cross-legged on the floor, grinning at each other. He looked down and saw the envelope in my lap. “You want to go first?”
I wasn’t sure if he meant did I want to open my gift, or give him his, so I just reached forward, holding his gift towards him.
He felt the envelope between his fingers, narrowing his eyes as if he was trying to figure out what was in it. It was a flat envelope and was clearly tickets to something or a gift card, and he knew it. He waggled his brows and opened it quickly.
“Kings tickets?” He sounded surprised and definitely excited.
I grinned. “You like?”
“I love! Two tickets though. Who should I take?” He grinned as he teased me. “Who do I know that likes hockey?”
“Sam.” I deadpanned.
He threw his head back and laughed. “Yes, but I don’t particularly enjoy seeing Sam’s nipples in the cold ice arena.”
“Ew. No. I can understand.” I bit my lip. “I could go. You know, I know a bit about hockey.”
“I know you do, Lover. I’d love to go to the game with you. On one condition, though.”
I rolled my eyes. “What’s that?”
“You let me buy you a Kings shirt. I can’t show up with you in Black Hawks gear.”
“That is low.” I shook my head. “But I can do it, for you.”
He leaned forward and kissed me. “Thank you, Lover. You’re a good wife.”
I snorted. “Sure thing, Northman.”
“This is for you.” He reached beside him and brought the gift bag in between us.
“Dinner and a large package. You must really love me.”
“I’ll give you a large package.”
“Gutter mind.” I laughed and reached into the bag to take out a box wrapped in tissue. Pulling away the paper, I gasped at the name on the box. “You didn’t.”
I couldn’t bring myself to open it. “Are they? How did you?” I shook my head, realizing how he had found out how badly I wanted them. “Amelia.” He nodded, and I bit my lip as I lifted the lid that read Christian Louboutin – Paris. “They’re so pretty!”
I gently ran my finger over the shiny black patent leather shoe, grinning. I loved the trademark red sole, and on these, there was a hidden red platform that showed through the peep toe. I knew from drooling over them and trying them on the store that they had almost a five inch heel.
“Put them on.”
Eric’s voice brought me out of my shoegasmic haze. “Oh! Okay.” I pulled my socks off and slid my feet into them. They fit perfectly. I stood up and did a little turn. “They’re amazing. I can’t believe you got them for me!”
He reached up, and I pulled him up to stand with me. “Haven’t you learned by now?” He laughed. “I’ll get you anything you want.”
“Anything?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Wait here.” I walked into the kitchen and got the other present out of the drawer that I’d hidden away. I held the packet behind my back as I returned to where he was waiting and took a deep breath as he looked at me with questions in his eyes. I put the little plastic birth control pill dispenser in his hand. “I don’t want these anymore. I want the consequences.”
He looked down at his hands, then back up at me, and a smile spread across his face. “Now that’s something I would love to work on giving you. As a matter of fact, I think we should get busy trying to make that happen.”
“You do?” I giggled.
“I do.” His words struck a chord in me, the simple phrase reminding me of our wedding and how amazing the man in front of me was.
He cupped my face and kissed me sweetly, then took my hand and led me down the hall towards the bedroom, turning off the lights as we went. It was going to be a while before we made it back to the kitchen for dessert.
I’m just going to let you use your imaginations about smexy, naked, late night dessert eating. Bahahaha. Cuz you know that’s how it all played out.
What did you think of their gifts? You gotta love a man who you-tubes things to cook for you, and I know a couple of you shoewhores are going to be very jealous the Louboutins.
Thanks to everyone for reading and reviewing! Halo!Eric and Sookie love you all!
Mock Hollandaise Sauce
1 c. mayonnaise (NOT MIRACLE WHIP)
2 tbsp. lemon juice
dash (or 2) of Tabasco
Salt & pepper to taste
Mix ingredients, store in a glass jar in refrigerator. Good on broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus & cauliflower