Chicken Noodle Soup

 

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EPOV

We got back to the condo and relaxed, curling up on opposite ends of the couch. We both fell asleep for awhile, thanks to the wine, then Sookie woke me as she stood and wandered to the kitchen for a drink.

“Holy crap!”

I went to see what she was talking about. She was gaping at a refrigerator and freezer full of food. “Did you know about this? There’s enough food to feed an army!”

“I had no idea.” I looked around, and saw a flower arrangement on the table. Grabbing the card, I wondered if it was from the resort, but the typed message was from Pam.

Love Birds,
Enjoy your retreat. The massage therapy team will be over tomorrow at 10 a.m. for your couples massage. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do! Call me when you get back to the beach house.
-Pam   

I handed the card to Sookie. “Couples massage?” She raised an eyebrow.

“Hey, I didn’t schedule it.”

“Well, I’m not turning it down.”

“Well, good.” We were grinning at each other across the table. I pulled out a chair and sat down. “What do you want to do for dinner?”

She walked back to the refrigerator, “Salmon and steamed vegetables?”

“Sure. Are you cooking?”

“If you’re helping.”

I shrugged. “Sure.”

“Do you cook much?”

“Not really. I like to, but I don’t get the opportunity very often.” I enjoyed cooking, but I didn’t get to do it as often as I liked. I wasn’t home during meal times that much, and when I was, it was just me, and it was hard to get motivated to cook just for myself. Growing up, we had a rotating chore list, and each night one of us had to help fix dinner.

“What’s your favorite thing to cook? Your best dish?”

I smirked. It was kind of wussy. “Chicken noodle soup.”

“From scratch? Really? That’s so cool. Mine is chicken paprikash. My Gran taught me.”

“I have no idea what that is.”

She chuckled, as she pulled things out of the fridge. “Chicken, coated in paprika, sautéed with onions, then simmered in tomato sauce until it falls off the bone. You serve it over rice or noodles, with a little bit of sour cream stirred into the tomato sauce.”

“That sounds good. You want to hear the secret to my soup?”

“Of course!” She was pouring salad dressing over the fish as a marinade. Genius. But really, what the hell had Pam told them? Stock the place with anything twp people could want over the course of three days? The amount of food in the condo was staggering. Sookie washed her hands as I began talking again.

“Rotisserie chicken. My mom used to roast a chicken in the crock pot the day before, and then we’d use it in the soup. Now, I just buy one of those already cooked birds and I’m on my way.”

She was grinning at me, as she dried her hands on a towel. Then she walked over and put her arms around my neck. “Your secret is safe with me. I’ll take it to the grave.” She brought one hand to the corner of her mouth, making the motions of locking and throwing away the key.

I shook my head as I bent to kiss her, she was adorable.

We worked well together in the kitchen. She gave good instructions and I followed her lead. Dinner was delicious, as was her company. She was still struggling with her memory, sometimes trying to remember things that just weren’t there, but it was an improvement from the complete blank she had been that first day.

My cell phone chirped, indicating that I had a voice-mail, while we were cleaning up the kitchen. Sookie and I had discovered that neither of our phones had great coverage this far north. I stood at the counter, and listened to the message.

“Eric, I’m so sorry I missed your call.” It was Sophie Anne. “I’d love to talk to you about everything that is going on.” She exhaled and continued. “Call me back when you get this message. Bye.”

She sounded sad, but then, she’d just broken up with her boyfriend, again. Physically, he was much older than her, but he was emotionally immature, and it repeatedly caused problems. I tried to call her back, but I had to leave her a message.

“Hey, I got your message. Sorry we haven’t been able to talk. I hope you’re doing alright. I’ll talk to you later. Bye.”

I told Sookie what Sophie Anne had to say, and she empathized with her, saying that break-ups were never fun, and we finished cleaning up and loading the dishwasher.

After reclaiming our seats on the couch from earlier, we relaxed with the radio playing in the background, talking quietly. Because of the gaps in her memory, it was still easier for her to ask me questions, and then add her own stories as she remembered them. We sipped a nice Merlot that we had purchased earlier, laughing and talking.

Much later, she bit her lip and looked over at me shyly. “I need to tell you something.”

“Okay.”

“It’s just, I. I’m not positive, because I don’t remember everything. God, this is ridiculous.” She raked her hands through her hair. “It’s been a long time, since before I left Bill.”

“Sookie.” I sat forward, taking her hands. “Please, don’t stress out about this.” I wanted to say, ‘It’s just sex,’ but we both knew it was more than that. Although I had been single for a long time, I hadn’t been celibate, but that’s not what this was about. Having sex with Sookie would change things, not now, but in the course of things, and we both knew it.

If I really thought about it, things had changed for me the second I saw her there on the ground. Every protective instinct in me had gone on full alert. She wasn’t just a damsel in distress, in that instant, she was my damsel, myresponsibility, and I couldn’t imagine ever not wanting to take care of her.

“I’m not, I don’t…Um, I’m on the pill, and I got tested after, well, Lorena.” She was looking at our hands, and then brought her eyes to mine. “I just need you to know that it’s a big deal for me. I’m not, I don’t do this lightly.”

Putting a hand on her cheek, I said quietly, “I know you don’t. Neither do I.” I kissed her lightly.  “And I’m clean, but we can use a condom if you want, I understand.”

Looking at me, her eyes assessed my sincerity, and she smiled. Then she surprised the hell out of me; getting up and climbing into my lap, putting her arms around my neck. My arms wrapped around her, as she laid her head on my shoulder. I ran my hands over her back. She was straddling my legs, but not pressing against me, it was more sweet than sexy, and it was making me insane.

She gave me a tantalizing kiss, and then pulled back. “I trust you.” It was no more than a whisper.

She stood, taking my hand, and pulled me to my feet, leading me down the hall behind her. I would have followed her anywhere. She led me to the master suite, turning on the lamp before turning to face me in front of the bed. My breath caught, as she slowly reached to unbutton her shirt.

I stepped forward; meeting her eyes, and took over for her shaking hands. Leaning down, I kissed her beautiful skin, as each button revealed more of her chest and stomach. I pushed the fabric over her shoulders and down her arms, and then crouched in front of her, with my hands at her waistband, before gently kissing across her belly. Looking up to her face, I wanted to make sure she was still alright with things, and she gave me a slight nod. I unzipped her shorts, sliding them down her legs along with her underwear. As I stood, she unhooked her bra in the back, pulling it forward and dropping it on the floor with the rest of her clothes. She stood before me, naked, perfect, beautiful. My hands went directly to her breasts. She moaned as my thumbs teased her straining nipples, and I bent my head to kiss her.

She kissed me back, her tongue sliding along mine, then nipping at my lips, as her hands lifted my shirt. We separated long enough to pull my shirt over my head, and then she was fumbling with my belt. Her hands slid down my hips, pushing what was left of my clothes to the floor. She ran her hands ran down my chest, then around to my back, pulling me against her.

My own hands threaded into her hair, as I placed soft kisses along her jaw, and down her neck. Her eyes were clouded, as I led her to the bed. She stretched out, without hesitating, smiling as I lay down next to her. Everything with her was new, but it was exactly right, like we had been together for years.

She reached forward, and whether it was conscious or not, placed her hand over my heart. She leaned in and kissed me, her tongue lightly brushing my lips. Then we were moving in sync, touching and sighing, tasting and teasing, hands caressing, hips rocking together. I was nestled between her legs, kissing her breasts, teasing her nipples with my tongue. She arched her back, pushing her chest towards me, while her hands slid along my back and into my hair.

I skimmed my hand along her side, and down her stomach, watching her shiver at my touch. My fingers slipped between her legs, and she moaned, raising her hips. I wanted to bury my face between her legs, but I resisted. To me, that was more intimate than sex, and I didn’t want to scare her. I continued stroking her folds, and moved to kiss her mouth.

She kissed me back, forcefully, as her hands swept down my back, resting on my hips and pulling my body against hers. She gasped my name as I kissed her neck, lingering at her pulse point. I lifted my head to watch her reaction, and rubbed my thumb over her clit. Her hips bucked against my hand, and she bit her lip, making the sweetest sounds. I felt pressure from her hands, trying to move my hips and center my body over her.

I needed to see her eyes, to know that her mind was aware of what her body was doing. Our gazes met, and her eyes were dark with desire, but they were clear and focused. She kissed me, bringing her hand between us, stroking my erection. I groaned at the contact, her delicate hand sliding over my sensitive skin.

“Jesus,” I muttered, pulling my mouth from hers to assault her neck and clavicle. I knew I should let her take the next step, because there was no turning back, but I was dying to be inside of her, and my hips arched into her hand reflexively.

When I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, she stopped, sliding the tip of my cock through her wet folds, to align me at her entrance. We both sighed, anticipating what was to come. She moved her hips, and that small inclination was the permission I was waiting for.

I kissed her, stroking her mouth with my tongue, as I slowly pushed in, feeling her stretch deliciously around me. Inch by inch, I advanced, holding my breath as I filled her. Then I paused, saying her name, and looking into her eyes, before I moved. I pulled back, immediately missing the feeling of being sheathed in her body, then thrust back in, as her hips came up to meet mine.

We moved together, finding a rhythm, breathing hard, her fingers digging into my back. Her body began to tighten around me, and she cried out. “Oh god. Oh god.”

Her words spurred me on; I made hard, fast strokes and rubbed her clit until her body clamped down, pulsing around me. I adjusted her hips, changing the angle, and continued pushing into her, until my entire body tensed. Then with one final hard thrust, I came, buried inside her.

Exhausted, I relaxed on top of her for an second, before rolling us over so she snuggled along my side. I looked down at her face, flushed and radiant, smiling back at me. We were quiet, caressing each other slowly.

After a few minutes, she sat up on her elbows and gave me a quick, hard kiss. “That was worth waiting for. I’ll be right back.”

She left before I could respond, disappearing into the bathroom for a few minutes. Then she grabbed my t-shirt off the floor, putting it on before turning off the lamp and coming back to bed. She stretched out next to me, leaning on an elbow, running her other hand lightly over my chest. She had a silly smile on her face.

I angled my neck to see her better. “What?”

“I don’t know. I feel like I should say thank you or something.”

“What?” I laughed. “You don’t need to thank me. Are you okay? No regrets?”

She giggled. “No. None.” Then she bent her head, kissing my chest.

“If you’re going to start that, you shouldn’t have put my shirt on.” I teased her, and she looked up at me, her eyes wide. Shit. Stupid. I shouldn’t have said that.

 

She shook her head and laughed, then climbed up, straddling my waist. She looked beautiful, leaning forward, her hands on my chest. Then she rotated her hips against me. “I guess you’ll have to take it off.”

“Fuck.” It came out as a growl, and she was lucky I didn’t tear the damn shirt off of her.

Much later, I fell asleep curled behind her.

SPOV

The couples massage was incredible. The two masseurs arrived, and I was thankful that they were fairly average looking women, not Swedish sex goddesses or something. The only thing “couple” about it was that we were on tables next to each other, but they were good massages. Afterwards, we fired up the Jacuzzi tub and stretched out facing each other, playing footsie and talking.

We hadn’t heard from anyone in two days. Our cell reception was questionable here, but we figured if anyone really needed us, they would know how to get a message to us through the resort. We hadn’t seen any paparazzi, but Eric figured there were some pictures from tourists that had made it to the tabloids. And when we checked the internet, he was right. I had shrugged, at least they were flattering, what else could I do, really?

It was relaxing, doing nothing, and spending time together without any sort of schedule. We were enjoying our mini vacation, within his vacation, feeling rather isolated at the resort and in the surrounding area. I had given myself a little pep talk, convincing myself that if he wasn’t freaked out about our relationship, shit, if that’s what it was, I shouldn’t be. We were adults, we could figure things out as they went, and enjoy our time together.

It was late afternoon, and we had driven to the tip of Old Mission Peninsula to see the lighthouse. We were relaxing on the beach. I was sitting on a blanket in the sand reading a book, and Eric was looking for Petoskey stones. We had seen some Petoskey stone jewelry in the gift shop at the resort. The sales person had gladly explained to Eric that the stones were actually fossilized pieces of coral, compressed into stone over time. They were shined up by jewelers and collectors for decoration and were the state stone.

 

Petoskey stones looked different when you found them on the beach, they had a dull gray pattern or polka-dotted look, which was much harder to recognize than you would think. I had grown up looking for them, and had a good eye for them, but sometimes I still wasn’t sure. Eric had laughed at me when I licked a rock to test to see if I could see the six-sided shape of the coral, but it was the best way to check if you weren’t sure. Now, he was wandering the beach, picking up rocks, and occasionally licking them, as he eyed them carefully.

I had his camera, and took some shots of him on the beach with the lighthouse in the background, and then some more with the water behind him. I needed to have him load them on his computer and email them to me so I had a copy of them. We’d gotten some nice pictures during the wine tour, and at Sleeping Bear Dunes near Leelanau. Eric had taken a lot of pictures, joking that I needed them, in case I ever lost my memories again. He had even asked an older couple to take our picture together at the lighthouse. He had to tell the gentleman how to use his digital camera, but it turned out great.

We had to leave in the morning, and I wasn’t entirely looking forward to heading back to the real world.  My memory was still like Swiss cheese. I could remember some things down to minute details, and other things were just, gone. Eric continued to ask me to go to the doctor, but since things were coming back slowly, I had decided I would just wait it out. Plus, from everything I read on the internet, if my memories were coming back, it was only a matter of time.

Eric came back and sat with me in the sand. He had a handful of Petoskey stones and was quite proud of himself. He was having a great time doing nothing on vacation. He’d told me that he needed to start looking over his script for the first episode of the new season of Bloodlust, but he was waiting until we got back to Saugatuck to start. He lay back in the sand with a sigh.

“Tired, or hungry, or both?” We’d been together almost a week, and I felt like I knew him pretty well. It was sad, because at times, I felt like I knew him better than I knew myself.

“Both. Why do you get tired on vacation when you do nothing?”

“Because you can.”

“Hm. Maybe. I can’t believe I’m hungry, but I am. That breakfast was huge. I didn’t think I’d eat again until tomorrow.”

I laughed. “Well, we skipped lunch, and you’ve been out walking the beach for a while. Fresh air will do that to you.” We’d had breakfast at Mabel’s in Traverse City and the portions were huge. Eric had talked about his stuffed hash-browns for hours, and I’d taken a picture of our food filled table so I could write a blog entry. It was a family restaurant, but sometimes those were the best places.

“Ungh.” He groaned. “All this food we’ve been eating, I’m not used to it. I need to work out. I never go this long without going to the gym.”

“After dinner?” I smiled, teasing him.

In a flash of movement, he pulled me down and rolled us over, trapping me beneath him, laughing. “Why do you always make fun of me?” He kissed me, slowly, his hips fitting themselves against mine.

“What? I think you’ve got that backwards!” We were grinning at each other, our noses almost touching. I was losing myself, floating in the sea of blue that was his eyes.

His lips barely brushed mine, but I felt it throughout my entire body. No matter what I couldn’t remember, I knew, with absolute certainty that I had never felt this way about a man before. What I felt about him was consuming and all encompassing. I knew what he had been talking about on our drive up north. Sometimes, two people are just right together.

 

“I don’t want to share you,” I said quietly. He cocked his head at me and I continued. “Let’s just stay here. I don’t want to share you with Amelia, or Pam and Alcide.”

He kissed me then, it was long and slow, and all of the things I felt about him wrapped up into a kiss.

“What about my brothers?”

“Your brothers?”

“Will you share me with them? They’re coming in for a long weekend. They’ll be here on Thursday.”

“Really? I totally forgot.” I pushed on his chest and we sat up, side by side, knees touching. He had told me that first night that they were coming out, but everything was such a blur since then that it had slipped my mind. “What are their names? They’re younger, right?”

“Yeah. Christoffer is one year younger than me and Sven is four years younger.”

“Wow. Why isn’t your name as Swedish as theirs?”

“It is, actually. I’m named after a great uncle. It’s spelled with a ‘K’ on my birth certificate, but my first agent hated it, so he made me use ‘C’ on my Screen Actors Guild card.”

“That’s crazy. Hollywood is strange. Where do your brothers live? What are you going to do?”

“Sven is in Colorado Springs and Chris is in Seattle. We are a pretty outdoorsy family. And what we, including you, are going to do, is hang out in Saugatuck a bit and go to a Cubs game.”

“Oh, really? What if I don’t like the Cubs?”

“Ah, but you do.”

“How do you know? We haven’t talked about baseball.”

He laughed, and I wanted to punch him. “I’m sorry, Sookie. I have you at a disadvantage. I actually remember your blog entries.”

“What? I blogged about it?”

“Yes. We’ll look at it back at the condo. You love Chicago style hot dogs and said you have to have one every time you go to a Cubs game.”

“Really? I mean, I remember Chicago dogs, but,” I wrinkled my nose, “At the stadium?”

“You need to read the blog. It’s not your favorite, it’s a tradition.”

“What do I do about traditions that I don’t remember?”

He put his arms around me and I heard him exhale. “You continue the ones you remember, and make new ones. Like Fourth of July in Los Angeles.”

“Yeah, I don’t remember that.” I laughed.

“Good, we’ll start a new tradition together.”

I sighed. It sounded too good to be true, but I hoped that it would be real. “Do they have hot dogs in L.A.? Apparently, I like them.”

He laughed as he held me, slightly rocking us. “I know a great place.”

000ooo000ooo000ooo

A/N:
Oh my. Big things this chapter. I’m gonna guess that you all approve.

Here are a whole bunch of links related to this chapter –

Old Mission Lighthouse

Petoskey Stones

Picture – polished Petoskey stones and an unpolished one at the bottom

(Sleeping Bear Dunes)

The Legend of Sleeping Bear
Long ago, along the Wisconsin shoreline, a mother bear and her two cubs were driven into Lake Michigan by a raging forest fire. The bears swam for many hours, but eventually the cubs tired and lagged behind. Mother bear reached the shore and climbed to the top of a high bluff to watch and wait for her cubs. Too tired to continue, the cubs drowned within sight of the shore. The Great Spirit Manitou created two islands to mark the spot where the cubs disappeared and then created a solitary dune to represent the faithful mother bear.

Chicago Style Hot Dogs

 

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