Distant Bells

SPOV

Pam’s pictures had the desired effect, and people were not looking kindly on Sophie Anne. Yes, they felt bad that she had managed to get addicted to drugs, but her antics with Eric were fodder for the late night shows and tabloids. I was particularly fond of Letterman’s Top Ten List. It was the Top Ten Things Overheard on the Bloodlust Set. Number One was, “This show really does bite.”

Eric went back to work, and our lives took on an easy rhythm. It was unexpected to me in this world of glamour and drama, but it was certainly welcome. We spent most of our days doing our own thing, working, or running errands. We reconnected each evening, absorbing ourselves in each other.

We’d been mobbed by photographers for the first week following Sophie Anne’s attack. It didn’t matter where we were going; work, the grocery store, dinner, Sam and Daph’s house, they followed us. Between Pam, Eric, and Alcide, I was given a crash course in dealing with the paparazzi on my own, since I had to face them without Eric almost daily.

Pam had explained that they would try to say shocking things to get me to react. They would use everything from comments to facial expressions in their magazines and websites. They would post any photos they got, but reactionary shots were the most sought after. We sat by the pool one evening, with Pam and Alcide hurling ridiculous questions at me about my life, my move to California, Sophie Anne, and my relationship with Eric.

It was fun, but the things they said seemed so off the wall that I couldn’t believe anyone would actually say them to me. I fully understood that it had been necessary when someone yelled at me as I walked into the grocery store, “Did you and Eric have a threesome with Sophie Anne?”

Sophie Anne spent two days in the hospital before being released. Her mother was there to pick her up, and it made for tabloid news. Blackhart came forward claiming that they had never actually broken up and that it was all a misunderstanding. He was fresh out of rehab, and encouraged Sophie Anne to enter a detox program, while her ‘people’ were strangely quiet.

Pam figured they were probably pushing her towards rehab since it would make her obsession with Eric seem like the delusional ramblings of a drug addict. The hold up seemed to be with Sophie Anne herself, who, as most people who were in the same situation, believed that she didn’t have a problem and could quit any time she wanted.

Four days after attacking Eric, she was photographed buying alcohol at Trader Joe’s at ten in the morning and then again with more alcohol that evening at the Villa Lounge, stumbling and spilling cocktails on everyone around her.

The paparazzi frenzy took place two days later, as her mother, Blackhart, and her manager delivered Sophie Anne to Choices Malibu. It was a media circus, blocking traffic and clogging Twitter. Sam and Daph happened to be over for dinner when, unbeknown to us, the drama began to unfold. Daph and I were loading the dishwasher when Pam barged in the house and turned on the television. She grabbed a glass and poured herself some scotch, began mixing a gin and tonic, and then finally realized we were all looking at her like she was insane.

“What? The bitch is going to rehab.” She handed me the gin and tonic and took a seat on the couch. “This is going to be good. I thought I would share the joy.”

Eric got Daph a rum and coke and then grabbed beers for himself and Sam as everyone settled in front of the TV. I didn’t understand what Pam was so excited about, but she clinked our glasses with a wicked grin, and her enthusiasm was kind of contagious.

We watched E!, sipping drinks and waiting for the coverage about Sophie Anne to begin. I felt kind of weird, watching video of Eric’s co-star going to rehab, but everyone just seemed to go with it. Sophie Anne’s manager, Diane, stepped up to the mic, and Pam shushed everyone.

“Sophie Anne has decided that her attempts at sobriety would be more effective with the assistance of the professionals here at Choices.”

Pam snorted and I thought, more effective? She needed help if she wanted it to be effective at all.

Diane continued, “She will remain here for twenty-eight days of inpatient therapy and rejuvenation before returning to the set of Bloodlust. She would like to thank her fans for their ongoing support but asks everyone to respect her privacy right now.”

She began to step away from the microphone, and I thought how ridiculous it was that it was Sophie Anne’s fame-whore ways that got us into this mess to begin with, and now she wanted privacy. I was actually a little pissed. How dare she?

On screen, the paparazzi began shouting questions, and Pam started bouncing her knee in excitement.

“Wait for it,” she said under her breath.

The questions were fast and furious, and you could tell that Diane hadn’t actually been planning to answer anything.

“What was Sophie Anne addicted to?” ”

“Did Sophie Anne fake her prescriptions?”

“Is there a restraining order preventing Sophie Anne from returning to theBloodlust set without a psychiatric evaluation?”

“Did Bobby Burham write Sophie Anne’s character out of the next season ofBloodlust?”

“Is it true that Sophie Anne is only here because Blackhart threatened to leave if she didn’t get treatment?”

“Do you have any comments about the sex tape involving Sophie Anne and the Olsen’s that is rumored to exist?”

Diane’s mouth opened and closed like a goldfish and I’m pretty sure my lips were doing the same thing. Pam was amazing. I didn’t know how many of those things were true, but I knew the information had come from Pam.

The paparazzi around Eric and I got even worse for a few days, as they tried to get us to comment on Sophie Anne’s stay at Choices or any of the other gossip. Pam had informed us that there really were rumors of a sex tape, and that she and Eric had a meeting scheduled with Bobby to talk about the future ofBloodlust, but as far as she knew, he didn’t get to kill Sophie Anne.

The rumor about Blackhart giving her an ultimatum hadn’t been confirmed, but I didn’t really care about that. I was surprised by news the following morning that a team of detectives wanted to interview Sophie Anne regarding prescription fraud. Sophie Anne probably never expected that to happen, she had an attitude that seemed to assume that her celebrity put her above the law.

My fear however, regardless of rehab, was that her feelings for Eric weren’t delusional. I mean, weren’t delusions usually based on your deepest feelings? Eric continued to tell me that it didn’t matter, that she wouldn’t be getting anywhere near him again. I hoped he was right.

My first restaurant reviews in the Times had gotten a good response,and they asked me to consider writing about other new things I was discovering in L.A., like salons, shops, or clubs. I snorted at that, I hadn’t been to a club since gong to Coral Gables with Eric, but according to Daph it was only a matter of time.

Production of Bloodlust went on without Sophie Anne. Eric did some publicity photo shoots with the cast, and we began to get invitations to parties; the wrap party, the premiere party, and several after-parties.

I had been keeping an eye out for a dress to wear for the premiere, but hadn’t found anything yet, that screamed, “Wear me!” About three weeks before the big night, I called Daphne to see if she knew of any shops I should go to, and she offered to take me shopping.

She showed me some of her favorite stores, and we found some cute dresses, but nothing that was really me. She bought a great dress for herself at the first place we went in to and I was completely jealous. We looked at boutiques and a couple of vintage shops, and I still didn’t find anything. She decided that we should go to one more vintage store that she said sometimes had great finds.

We drove over to West Hollywood, and she took me into Seilan’s Vintage Apparel. We passed Paris Hilton coming out as we went into the store. It scared me a little, because Paris and I were neither built the same, nor had the same taste in fashion, but I forged on. The store was really cute and smelled clean, which was huge.

We flipped through the racks of dresses, ooing and aahing at beautiful Chanel, Dior, and Halston pieces, just to name a few. My eye was drawn to a beautiful vintage wedding dress on a mannequin, but I didn’t let myself think about it for too long. I knew that I needed to figure out how I felt about getting married again, and I wondered what it meant that I had actually had to convince myself that I didn’t need to try it on.

Before I met Eric, it had seemed ridiculously unlikely, but with Eric, it was beginning to seem like a foregone conclusion. We had talked about wanting kids, and at his parents house, we established that we would be interested in having them together. In the Sookieverse, that meant we would be married, but I hadn’t thought about how we would get to that point. It was like my mind thought we would just jump over that hurdle and magically be married when we decided to have kids.

I sighed and managed to clear my head so I could refocus and find something to wear for the premiere. Daphne had figured out already that my favorite colors were red, pink, and black and she did a great job helping me search. We found dresses that we liked and put them aside, eventually acquiring quite a stack ,and I headed for the fitting room to see if any of them worked.

I tried on almost everything we had gathered and was once again getting frustrated. I stepped out of the fitting room to look in the three-way mirror one more time, thinking that the pink dress that I had on might work if I couldn’t find anything else.

Then I saw something across the room in the mirror and turned around, almost pulled towards the dress. Hanging behind the counter was a white dress covered in roses. I walked closer, and could make out even more of the design. It had a scooped neckline and an interesting, draped bodice with princess seams and a fitted skirt that fell below the knee. It was love at first sight, and I was afraid the sales girl would tell me that it was sold.

“No,” she laughed. “We just got it in. I still need to steam it.”

“There’s no need. I’ll take it. I mean, I’ll try it on.”

Daph came over, “Sookie, it’s so cute! Do you think it will fit?”

I hadn’t dared to look at the tag, but it looked to be the right size, or damned close. The sales girl shrugged and held the hanger out for me. I bit my lip and carried it back to the dressing room. It was me. This dress finally called out, “Wear me!” and all of those other clichés.

I stepped into the bodice then slid the straps up my arms, and knew without looking that it was perfect. I had shoes that would look great with it. They were tall and red; Eric called them fuck me heels. I zipped the back and stepped out of the little room to show Daph.

She clapped her hands excitedly. “Sookie! You have to get it. Oh my god, it’s per-fect.”

EPOV

Shortly after I returned to work, Bobby sat down with Pam and I. He had rewritten the final two episodes, officially removing Sophie Anne from the next season. After the rewrites, he hoped that the remaining scenes with Sophie Anne could be shot in one day, with a limited number of people on set. He thought it was entirely possible, that the one remaining scene we were in together could be shot separately, so that I didn’t have to even see her on the set.

Pam was pleased, but not entirely happy, but that was nothing new. She didn’t want Sophie Anne anywhere near me and was really pushing for the psychiatric evaluation. I was just glad to hear that she wouldn’t be back next season, so Sookie and I could put her drama behind us.

I thanked Bobby and apologized for what Sophie Anne had done, which earned me a dirty look from Pam.

After a moment, I just came out and told Bobby what I had been thinking. “Listen, I’ve been around long enough to know that you didn’t have to do any of this for me. That you could have said, suck it up and do your scenes with the bitch. So, thank you.” I turned to Pam, because she always needed an ego stroke as well. “And thank you, too, for everything you’ve done. I know it’s your job, but it’s my life. So, thanks.”

She seemed to understand then, and nodded at me, before she was off again, bitching at Bobby about the size and location of my trailer for the following season. I stifled a grin; she was such a ball buster.

Time was flying by, and Sookie and I were still doing great. She’d been making little changes around the house, and it made me happy because it meant she was really feeling at home. Suddenly the season was almost entirely filmed, and I was looking forward to taking Sookie to the premiere and the parties that surrounded it. It was only a taste of what the awards season would be like, and we had yet to talk about how she wanted to deal with all of that drama. I would love to have her at my side at all of those events, but honestly, if I didn’t have to go to them, I wouldn’t. It was so much nicer to watch them on television wearing gym shorts and drinking beer, or shit, not watching at all and checking the internet for the results later. The parties were the fun part, but they were also tiring and full of soap opera style theatrics by any number of celebrities.

Sookie had been doing amazingly well in terms of the paparazzi. We’d given her a crash course, testing her with questions and crazy statements, but even I wasn’t prepared for some of the outrageous nonsense they came up with in the first weeks after Sophie Anne’s attack. I was surprised when things got worse after Sophie Anne went into rehab, but every tabloid wanted our reaction to her addiction, sex tape, prescription fraud, and demise on Bloodlust.

I came home one night to find Sookie gorging on ice cream; we didn’t have tiramisu since she was still searching for a substitute for Rose Angelis in California.

“Hi,” I said as I sat down on the couch and took her foot into my hands for a massage.

“Hey,” she mumbled around the spoon.

“What’s going on?”

“Nothing,” she said with her mouth full.

“Sookie.”

She kept her eyes on me, but continued eating her ice cream. Her pout was unbelievably sexy, but she was so not in the mood. I reached for the small container she held, and you would have thought I was getting between a mother bear and her cub. She glared at me and held the ice cream out of my grasp.

“Fine. I’ll tell you,” she huffed. “Today, while I was shopping,” she paused for a bite of ice cream, “Some photographer asked me if I was jealous that you have sex scenes with Keira Knightley in your new movie.”

“And clearly, you’re not,” I said sarcastically, as she shoveled more ice cream into her mouth. I was obviously going to need to remind her that she didn’t need to worry. “Because there’s nothing to be jealous of. You should come watch us film those scenes. It’s really very impersonal. There are like twenty people standing around watching and adjusting the lighting.”

She smiled weakly and I sighed. Giving up, I risked life and limb, and took the ice cream from her hand, setting it on the coffee table.

“Sookie, you have nothing to be jealous of.”

I pushed her back on the couch, wedging my legs between hers and propping myself up on my elbows over her chest. This way, she had to look at me. I leaned forward, running my nose along her collarbone and up her neck.

“Sookie, you’re everything to me. I go to work and all I can think about is coming home to you, or what you’re doing without me. I’ve never been this happy in my life, and it’s because of you. Really. You have,” I paused to kiss below her ear. “Nothing,” I kissed her mouth, “to worry about.”

She looked into my eyes. “I know that in my heart, but sometimes I don’t believe it in my head.”

“I’m not Bill.”

“I know that,” she sighed, frustrated. “But I never thought that he would cheat on me either, and we were married.”

“I’ll marry you now. Let’s go to Vegas. Tonight. If that’s what it will take to make you understand how much I love you, let’s do it.”

She laughed, and I felt amazingly better just hearing that sound, and then I realized what I said. I practically held my breath waiting for her reaction.

“No, baby, we don’t need to go to Vegas.” She kissed me. “I know you’re not Bill, and I know that you love me. Realistically, I know that nothing will happen on set or anywhere else, but there’s this insecure part of me, this corner of my heart, that is terrified that it will happen again.”

“What do I have to do to take over that corner of your heart?”

“For starters? Give me back my ice cream.”

“How about I put it in the freezer for now, and after an orgasm or two, I’ll feed it to you in bed.”

“I knew there was a reason I loved you,” she giggled. “You’re so thoughtful.”

Much later, I put the empty ice cream container on the night stand and stretched out behind her, pulling the covers over us.

“Eric?”

“Yeah.”

“I love you.”

I kissed the top of her head. “I love you, too, Sookie.”

A few weeks before the premiere, we made plans to meet Lafayette for dinner because Sookie was feeling a little homesick. Although, I was not entirely sure how sushi with a flamboyant drag queen reminded her of Michigan. We were getting ready, and when I reached for a shirt in the closet, I saw a garment bag that hadn’t been there before. When I asked about it, Sookie blushed, and told me that she didn’t want me to see it yet.

I shook my head at her and finished pulling my shirt on, feeling oddly like she was hiding a wedding dress from me, because that was the kind of thing that women hid in closets. And then I froze. For the second time in weeks, I was thinking about Sookie and I getting married, and it didn’t scare me at all. Part of me actually wished that what she had hiding in the closet really was a wedding dress, even though I knew it wasn’t.

She laughed, and I realized I must have had a strange look on my face. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” I said, trying to shake off my thoughts. I wasn’t sure how she felt about getting married again, but I wanted the future Northman children to have married parents. I hoped that we were on the same page, or I was going to have to do some serious convincing.

00oo0oo00oo00oo00oo

A/N:

The HE version of “The Sookie Dress”
Thanks to seastarr08 for stumbling up on it when I showed her other things on the site! The link wasn’t working for a minute, if not – try this: http://www.memphisvintage.com/ccred.html

OH MY! They’re on the same page but they don’t know it!

Next up, sushi dinner and the big premiere! Is Sookie ready for Hollyweird?

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