Best Laid Plans


OMG how cool is this? MysticNotions made an Okay! magazine cover about Sophie Anne’s craziness! I love it! Check it out!



I was working on Western Sky, putting in extra time to take riding lessons and work with a dialect coach to improve my southern drawl. Long hours on set and the additional language training for my role, were limiting my time with Sookie. I promised her that my next film wouldn’t require so much time and that we’d take a vacation before Bloodlust started shooting again.

The Emmy’s were creeping up on us, and I wasn’t entirely looking forward to them. Bloodlust was nominated for best drama, but I hadn’t received an individual nod. It wasn’t a surprise really, but it was disappointing. The night would be filled with ass kissing and fake smiles. Thank god I was going with Sookie, she made everything more tolerable.

Amelia had been out for a quick visit, helping Sookie find her dress for the event, and I was amazed how a little dose of Amelia had made such a difference. We’d had a bad moment, or at least I had, when Sookie told me she wanted to go home. Thinking of her feeling at home somewhere else had gutted me. When she saw my reaction we’d talked, and she explained that the Midwest was home in the sense that it would always be home; where she was from. The breath had returned to my lungs, and I walked away from the conversation feeling much better.

Then a couple of days later Amelia had cornered me about my intentions, and Sookie broke my heart all over again, telling me that her home was here with me, not at the Lake with Amelia. She’d been drinking, but I promised her that we would have both; that our children would have the Lake and the ocean. Before Lafayette had dragged her back onto the dance floor, Sookie and I looked into each other eyes, and I knew that she understood that I meant it. The next morning she confirmed it.

“Thank you. For understanding that I’m trying. For knowing that my life is here, but I want to share my past with you, and with our family.” She was resting her chin on my chest and running a hand across my stomach.

I grabbed her hand and brought it to my lips for a kiss. She closed her eyes and snuggled against me before getting up and making the coffee that she needed like oxygen.

Sookie seemed more relaxed after Amelia’s visit, and she had redoubled her efforts to put down roots in California. She spent time with Daph and Holly, and found some places that she began referring to as hers; her nail salon, herpharmacy, her favorite vintage place. She started planning a pool party for our friends and was slowly adding her own decorative pieces around the house.

I wondered if she was doing those things to convince herself that California was home, but she was so happy that I decided to push those worries aside and enjoy her good mood. We went to the beach one day and to dinner another. She visited me on set and met Keira, who was incredibly kind and understanding. She encouraged Sookie to come watch us film any time and introduced us to her boyfriend who was visiting from England.

One afternoon when I was taking a break on set my mother called my cell phone, and we chatted for a few minutes, talking about Sookie, my brothers and the local San Jose gossip that mom always felt the need to share. I thought I was finishing up the call when she told me to hold on and passed the phone to my dad. The first question out of his mouth was whether or not I knew Sven was buying a house. I didn’t even get the chance to tell him that I’d helped with the down payment.

“You gave him money, didn’t you?”

“Will you be upset if I say, ‘Yes’?”

“No, son. I just don’t want him to start expecting it. ”

“He doesn’t, dad. He didn’t even ask for it really. I offered. You’re not upset? I mean, it wasn’t something that you wanted to do?”

“I can’t say that I wouldn’t love to be able to help him buy a house, but I’d like to be able to help all three of you do it.” My dad sighed. “Eric, you can afford to help him, and I’m glad you do. Just keep in mind that he’s going to have to make it on his own someday.”

“I know, dad.”

“Well, I’m glad he finally got a real job at least.”

“Yeah. It sounds like he’s doing well, and he enjoys it.”

“I think they’re going to get married before the year’s out.”

“Married, not just engaged?”

“Yup. If you’re not careful he’ll give your mom the first grand-baby.”

“It’s not a contest.”

He snorted. “Not to you.”


“Are you at least thinking about it?”

“Dad, I’ve been thinking about it since I met her.”

“Well, good. I really like her. Don’t let her get away.”

“I know, dad. I don’t plan on it.” I sighed. “How’s mom? I mean, is she still being crazy?”

He chuckled. “She’s being mom.”

“What has she done?”

“She’s pricing caterers and reception halls in Los Angeles, but that’s not too crazy.”

“What the hell?” I asked in surprise. I hadn’t been expecting that. “Why is she doing that?”

“Sookie doesn’t have a mom,” he said quietly. After a pause I could almost see him shrug before he continued, “It keeps her out of my business, and it’s not hurting anyone.”

I sighed. “Is she at least doing the same for Sven, or is she counting on Rachel’s mom?”

“Well, I think she’s been doing a little work on that, but she’ll leave that to Rachel’s mom mostly. Hey, think of it this way, I’m sure she’ll have most of the wedding planned out before you propose.”

“Sookie will want to do that herself, dad.” I sighed, raking my hand through my hair. “Tell her to go online and check some places near Saugatuck, will you? Sookie would like that.”

We finished the call, and I sat at the table in my trailer thinking. These last months had been a whirlwind, but they’d been pretty fucking perfect as well.

I’d gone to Michigan needing some time away from Los Angeles. Being single and in the limelight was a pain in the ass. You’re expected to put on a happy face all of the time, even when you’re miserable, and you can’t date anyone or even go out to dinner for that matter, without starting rumours. It was hard to establish if the people you met were interested in getting to know you or just in being seen with you; and it was a kick in the face when you figured out you were wrong. I’d given up really, hiding behind being busy and occasionally giving in when Sam or my mother tried to set me up with someone. Even with my success in acting, my social life was failing.

I needed a reality check or a glimpse at life outside of Hollywood, which I honestly could have gotten by visiting my parents, but the film festival had been too cool to pass up. Shit. I couldn’t imagine where I’d be if I hadn’t gone to Saugatuck.

My life had practically turned on a dime when the paparazzi had thrown Sookie into my path. She was exactly what I needed. I’d been feeling disconnected, like what I was doing meant nothing if I didn’t have someone to share it with, and even that first night, when neither of us knew who she was, I wondered if I could share it with her.

In the morning, when Amelia had shown up at the beach house, she scared the hell out of me when she mentioned Sookie’s love of tiramisu from Rose Angelis. It didn’t seem possible that the beautiful woman in my dining room was the same anonymous person I’d been emailing and baring my soul to. In that moment I felt a heartbreaking unfairness because I realized that we had the potential to be so much more than pen pals, and all she remembered about me was that she’d seen me on television.

I knew that I had to ride out her amnesia, to be there when it all came back, and thank god I did. In that time we spent getting to know each other, while she tried to remember who she was, I’d been more myself than I’d been around anyone other than my family in years. Sookie had taken over my heart and my life, and without realizing it I had given myself to her entirely.

Now, here we were; my mom was pricing wedding venues and hearing the cries of grand children. My dad was totally right that I didn’t want her to get away. I didn’t really think that was a risk, but she hadn’t thought Bill was cheating on her. With everything that had brought us together, I realized that I didn’t want to leave our future to chance.

I sighed, running my hands through my hair and jumped at the sound of someone clearing their throat. Alcide was standing in the doorway with his eyebrow raised.

“Shit!” I laughed in surprise. “I didn’t even hear you open the door.”

“Ah, yeah. I noticed.” He stepped inside and closed the door. “What’s up emo-boy? Did you find the answer to world peace?”

I chuckled. “No. I was thinking about Sookie.”

“Big fucking surprise there,” he snorted. “They need you back on set, and I’m getting ready to head out. I’m going to get your stuff from the cleaners, and then I’ll bring it back and load it in your car. I emailed you the details for tonight and Sunday. The Nominee’s Reception is at Spectra in the Pacific Design Center. Grey Goose is one of the big sponsors. You can steal me a bottle if you want.”

I arched an eyebrow at him.

“Whatever.” He rolled his eyes. “I set up a limo to pick you up for tonight and for the Emmys. I’ll see you Sunday afternoon to be sure you’ve got your shit together.”

“Thanks. What would I do without you?” I asked sarcastically.

“Clearly you’d have been eaten by wolves already,” he said over his shoulder as he left the trailer, letting the door slam loudly in his wake.

Tonight was the beginning of Emmy weekend. For the general public, the Emmys were one night. For nominees, it was an entire weekend of parties and appearances. It was fun, but it got to be a long weekend. Barry had encouraged everyone to attend the Nominee’s party, but left everything else up to our discretion. Pam didn’t care what we went to, as long as Sookie and I let the paparazzi see that we were still together and still in love.

Sookie had sat down with Pam and Amelia and picked out a party dress, and then Pam told her what to expect and who to look for. It wouldn’t be very different than the premiere, and Sophie Anne was still in rehab, so the paparazzi questions should be pretty standard.

The big night would be Sunday, when Sookie and I walked the Emmy’s red carpet together. Then we would sit in the Nokia Theater for several hours being filmed for national television as the awards were distributed. You never really knew when a camera was going to zoom in on you, or when Jimmy Fallon was going to ad lib and make a joke about you. With the Sophie Anne drama, I was pretty sure that he’d make a crack either at me or about her at some point in the night. Pam had lectured both Sookie and I that if it did happen, we needed to smile and laugh, but not too loud, and not too long. Sookie asked her to demonstrate, and I thought I might have had to pull Pam off of her, but then Sookie giggled and said she was only kidding.

I stretched and left the trailer, heading back to the mock up of the saloon, pausing for a dusting of powder to get rid of the shine on my face. We shot a poker scene with me and some rough and tumble cowboys, while Keira served whiskey. It took several takes, and we all joked about getting drunk on the apple juice that was poured into our glasses in each run through. We finally got it right or enough of it right that they could splice it together and finished for the weekend.

After my rather thoughtful afternoon, I had a plan, and I would take the first steps as soon as the weekend was over. I changed out of my dusty cowboy gear and headed for the Vette, ready to get home and start the Emmy celebrations and much, much more with Sookie.



Martini did my hair for the Emmy Nominee’s party. I tried to tell her I could manage on my own, but she wouldn’t hear it. Eric got home from the set, and I was relaxing, sitting in the living room in my robe, drinking some lemonade.

“That’s not fair. How am I supposed to be motivated to go shower and leave the house with you looking like that?”

I laughed. “Well, cowboy, you’re not getting near me smelling like that anyway, so you might as well shower.”

“You have a point.” He sank into a chair across from me.

“Are we driving tonight?”

“No, I got a limo. Why? Are you planning on getting really drunk and dancing on the tables?”

I kept a straight face. “Yeah.”

“You’re such a liar,” he laughed.

My face broke into a smile and I giggled. “Yeah, I am. I was actually deciding if I should wear underwear.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Not what underwear to wear, but if you should wear them?”

“That’s what I said, Northman.”

“I’ve said it before; you are evil,” he said, shaking his head.

“That, I am. Now go get showered, and I might help you get dressed.” He stood and walked away, raising an eyebrow over his shoulder. “Sorry pal, my hair and make up are done. You’re showering solo.” He stepped into the house, pausing to press his butt against the sliding door to tease me, and I laughed out loud.

I had picked out a simple jersey dress with a cowl neck for the party. It was something that I’d found while wandering on Melrose with Daph, and I loved it. The tag said it was mocha, but no matter how many times I told him, Eric called it beige. Whatever color it was, it looked good with my new California sun-tan; I certainly couldn’t have pulled it off in the middle of a Chicago winter with pale skin.

Pam had given me the thumbs up when I asked if it was appropriate. Her eyes had lingered on the low neckline before returning to mine with a wink.

“It’s perfect, Sookie. You’ll look delicious.”

“Eew. Keep it in your pants, Pam,” I teased.

She waggled her eyebrows at me and answered her phone, thankfully ending our conversation.

Eric and Pam had been trying to tell me that the Nominee’s Party was just cocktails. That was like saying a bridesmaid’s dress could be worn again as a party dress. It was one of those things that should work, but in reality was far from the truth. It would be a working party for Eric, although more relaxed than the Emmys and the party afterwards, and I knew we would both be on display.

I waited to hear the shower turn off and went down the hall to get dressed. Eric came into the room just as I sprayed perfume into my cleavage.

“Jesus, like I needed more of an invitation to put my face there.”

I laughed as I put the bottle back on the dresser and began to pull on my shoes. “Well, you’ll have to wait. I have on double sided tape so I’m not showing everyone the girls tonight,” I said as I adjusted the drape of the neck.

He stepped up behind me and leaned over my shoulder to look down my chest. His hands slid up my hips. “By all means, keep the girls covered.”

I hadn’t put on lipstick yet, knowing that it would be kissed off before we arrived at the Pacific Design Center, so I leaned back on Eric’s chest, and his lips found mine. His hands made their way under my dress and he bit lightly on my lip when he discovered I really wasn’t wearing underwear. I stepped back with a sigh.

“Mmmm. We need to go.”

He exhaled through his nose, loudly, and then he grinned and leaned forward to smell my perfume before taking his suit coat off the hanger, folding it over his arm.

“If you insist, lover.”

The ride into town went by quickly. Eric asked me about the restaurant review I was working on for the Times and we spent the drive talking about it. We’d eaten at the Church and State bistro based on recommendations from a sound guy on Eric’s movie. The name alone was enough to get me there, but the promise of chocolate hazelnut pot de crème for dessert had hooked Eric. It was a rich and satiny chocolate custard that, when made well, was sinful and heavenly at the same time.

I had done some research, and it had received fairly good reviews, with some negative ones mixed in. I had been excited to roll the dice and find out what Eric and I would experience. We tried the French onion soup and endive salad with goat cheese for starters, and then thebouillabaisseand steak with frites forentrées. We both really enjoyed our meals, although I’d had better bouillabaisse in Seattle, but the pièce de résistance was dessert. My crème brûlée was insanely good, and Eric’s pot de crème was to die for. We joked that until I found a replacement emergency tiramusu restaurant, we might need to put Church and State on speed dial.

As we rode into Hollywood, we talked about which pictures I should use and what we each liked about the interior. Eric hadn’t been entirely pleased with our waiter, but I laughed, saying he was very French in the way he ignored us while we ate. Eric laughed and called bullshit because the guy was clearly a native Californian and was probably a starving artist or college student.

The limo pulled up to the PDC and the driver came around to let us out. Eric took my arm, and we walked towards the building. He told me that the fountain plaza would be where the HBO party was after the Emmys, explaining that the party would span the plaza. It was sweet because he didn’t know anything else about the party really, and I had already known where it would be.

I smiled, and told him that they used the same event planner every year, Billy Butchkavitz, and for Sunday’s party he had designed aTarzan and Jane meets Palm Beach jungle theme, and that Wolfgang Puck was catering. Eric laughed, saying that we would be sick of Wolfgang Puck by the end of the weekend since he was catering tonight’s party as well.

Eric was surprised that I knew so much about the party, but I had always been a fan of the Emmys, and the HBO after-party was always awesome. The event was considered exclusive and tickets were sought after, which made me giggle when I thought about it because close to two-thousand people attended each year.

Eric had warned me that tonight’s parties might be similar to the premiere, in that he would have to be working whenever someone needed him, but it wouldn’t be nearly as chaotic as the HBO party after the Emmys. When we walked through the doors, the party seemed more casual than the premiere had been, but we had barely entered Wolfgang Puck’s Spectra when I heard someone call Eric’s name. I squeezed his hand before he turned and walked towards the voice. I made a beeline for the bar and ordered a club soda; I had a feeling it was going to be a long night.

Pam had given me a crash course in the people that I should be on the look out for, and I saw studio executives, as well as producers and directors, shaking hands with Eric. He smiled and nodded, even threw back his head in laughter at times, but every now and then he would catch my eye, letting me know he would much rather be somewhere else, preferably with just me. Holly found me near the bar and we were both glad to have someone to visit with while our men were working the crowd. I had to admit that it was an interesting contrast, Eric more often than not greeted by the Hollywood elite, while Liam sought them out.

One by one, the nominees stood to get an official photo taken with their certificate. The Bloodlust cast stood together, with John Shaffner, the Chairman and CEO of the Academy Television Arts and Sciences. They joked and smiled while they lined up for the the photographer. Everyone was clearly excited about their nomination. Holly and I watched from the bar, and the guys joined us as the group broke up.

The four of us chatted quietly and then made our way towards the food. There were canapés and bite sized treats, as well as Chinese chicken salad and miso-glazed salmon. Despite Eric and my jokes earlier, I was nowhere near sick of the interesting, sometimes mind-bending, celebrity-style cuisine these parties exposed me to.

Eventually, we made our way outside where a jazz band played and people had begun dancing. Eric seemed to be done schmoozing, aside from a few quick conversations here and there. We danced and laughed with other nominees, and I was surprised that the remainder of the night flew by.

Before I knew it, I was stretched across the back seat of the limo beneath Eric as his long fingers pushed my dress up to my waist. His mouth found mine as he slid one hand between my legs. His lips moved to my neck, and he sighed.

“I couldn’t wait to get out of there so I could touch you.”

“I’m all yours.”

I tugged at his shirt, untucking it from his pants and slid my hands along the warm skin of his back. There was no where on Earth I would have rather been.

His lips found mine again, and we kissed while my hands roamed over his body as he stroked my center. I nibbled at his bottom lip and tried to move my hands between us, grabbing at his waistband.

He pulled back and shook his head no, his eyes dark with desire.


“I have plans,” he said before he began to slide down my body.

I moaned as his hands caressed my thighs, spreading my legs as he settled between them.

“I think I like this plan.” I hadn’t meant to say it out loud, but apparently I did because he chuckled and brought his eyes back up to mine.

“I’m sure you will.”

He leaned forward, kissing my stomach. He murmured something I couldn’t hear, but I felt his lips move against my skin. Then his hands were between my legs, and his thumbs spread my folds before I felt his warm mouth on my already damp flesh. He slowly and precisely, worshiped me with his tongue until I was arching of the seat.

“Eric, please.” I was whimpering, practically begging for release.

He continued working me with his mouth and added his fingers, pumping them in and out, as I felt the familiar warming and tightening begin. His continued strokes took me over the edge and the orgasm spread through me, leaving me panting.

As I caught my breath, he kissed his way back up my body, finally bringing his lips to mine.

“Mmmm,” I sighed into the kiss, reaching for his waistband again when I heard him chuckle.

“You’ll have to wait, Sookie. We’re practically home.”

I ignored him and grabbed at his belt buckle, groaning as I felt the limo slow and stop for a moment.

“Where are we?”

“The stop sign at the bottom of the hill,” he laughed.

I closed my eyes in frustration. We were minutes from the house, and what I wanted to do with him was going to take much longer than that.

“Tell him to drive faster,” I laughed. I wanted to get home and have my way with him as soon as possible.

“We’re almost there, lover. And the night is still young.”

I wasn’t sure if that was a sexy threat or a dirty promise, but we were certainly on the same page with our plans for the rest of the night.



Thanks so much for reading! You know how much I love to hear from you!

OH – lots of contests going on this fall… I’m judging the Kiss the Cook contest and am an organizer of the A New Chapter contest for new authors. I’m thinking about entering I Write the Songs or Eric’s First Blood! Maybe I’ll do both! Who knows! Check out the Sookieverse Blog for more information about all of the contests!

If you want to know if Sookie’s dress is mocha or beige -click the link and decide for yourself.

Church and State Bistro 



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