The Emmy nominations came out and although Eric didn’t receive an individual nomination, Bloodlust was nominated for Best Drama. He said he wasn’t disappointed, that he was still young and fairly new to Hollywood, but I know that it was something he really wanted. We both agreed that the current season was even better than the last, so we crossed our fingers for next year, and made plans to attend the awards with the cast.
Summer was winding down, and I enjoyed California, but it didn’t feel like home yet. I wanted to feel like it was home, being with Eric was definitely where I wanted to be, but I was still getting used to it.
Eric started filming Western Sky, his cowboy movie with Keira Knightly. They worked long hours but were still getting behind schedule. He was frustrated because he had another Indie film lined up to start as soon as production was finished, and then he hoped, we would take a vacation.
I still needed a dress for the Emmy’s, but I wasn’t having any luck finding what I wanted. I wasn’t as skinny as most of the size zero actresses and I wasn’t entirely confident in knowing what was appropriate for the varying events that Hollywood required. I had less than two weeks to find something, and I prayed it wouldn’t need alterations. I knew in the back of my mind Lafayette would come up with something in a pinch, but I wanted to do it on my own.
I went dress hunting one more time, but it again reminded me how much I missed Amelia. I needed her to tell me when my butt looked big or my boobs were spilling out. Daph and Holly had both offered to help me find something, but I was feeling sorry for myself. Or maybe I was just plain homesick. I decided that I had to give in, and tell Eric that I wanted to go see Amelia or invite her out to visit.
He came home late and was exhausted, but he recognized the signs of trouble when he walked in. I had on my tell-tale fuzzy slippers and was eating Ben and Jerry’s directly from the pint. He grabbed a beer and sat down.
“Chubby Hubby, or Dave Matthews Band Magic Brownies?”
He reached forward and pulled down the towel I was using to hold the container. “Magic Brownies. Alright, lay it on me.”
“There’s a scale. I’m just learning it, but Magic Brownies is bad.” He calmly took a drink of his beer and waited for me to start talking.
“I’m that obvious?”
“Yeah. Out with it.”
“I need to go home. Just for a visit. Or I could invite Amelia to come here.”
He set his beer on the coffee table and leaned forward, then ran his hands through his hair and rested his arms on his thighs. He didn’t look at me, and he didn’t say anything.
He turned his head towards me, and I was surprised at the sad look on his face. He shook his head slightly, then exhaled.
“I thought you were home.”
“You said you need to go home. I thought you were home. I mean, I was under the impression this was permanent.”
“Oh my god. That’s not what I meant.” I put down my ice cream and practically scrambled into his lap. His arms came around me, but I felt how tense his back was. “Oh, Eric. I only meant home in the way that you will always call your parent’s house home even when you haven’t lived there in years. That’s what the cottage is to me. But us, here, you’re my home.”
“Sookie, you can invite Amelia here anytime, this is your place too. But if you want to go back to visit, that’s cool. I don’t have time right now with filming. I’m going to be honest and say that I don’t want you to go just because I’m being selfish, and I’m going to miss you. But I want you to be happy, so you do what you need to do.”
“I need help finding a dress,” I said quietly.
“Well, I would have to guess that there are more stores here that will have Emmy dresses than back in Michigan, but you two could always go to Chicago.”
“You’re not upset with me?”
“I panicked when you called Michigan home, but I’m feeling better.”
“I’m sorry,” I whispered, as I leaned in to kiss him. “I didn’t mean it that way.”
“It’s okay,” he sighed. “It just sort of brings up something we should talk about anyway.”
“What’s that?” I was still in his lap, wrapped around him with my head on his shoulder.
“Well, we talked about wanting kids, but we didn’t talk about whether or not you wanted to get married again. I mean, it would be totally different.”
“Yeah, it would be different. You would actually want to be married to me.”
I sighed. “I’m old-fashioned; I’d like to marry the father of my children, preferably before I got pregnant. But I haven’t had to think about that for a long time. I mean, I thought I was married to the man who would father my children.” Eric started to say something, but I continued, “Wait. Let me finish. I’ve thought about having kids with you, and I want to, god they would be cute. I just haven’t figured out how we would get to that point.”
His hand slid into the waistband of my yoga pants. “I can tell you how we get to that point.”
“Funny. Not the pregnant point, but the married and having kids point. What are you thinking?”
“Why do you ask me that? Yes, honestly.”
“I would marry you tomorrow. Yesterday, even. I’m waiting for you to be ready.”
“You’re not scared? I mean, it’s only been like three months.”
“Sure, I’m scared. It’s a big step. But when everything fell into place and I figured out who you were…I mean, it’s like we’re supposed to be together; and when I think about the future, you’re always in it. I can’t see me without you.” He framed my face with his hands and kissed me gently. “But I completely understand if you’re not ready.”
“I love you. But you know me; I’m scared. It’s like;I would have a baby with you tomorrow, but get married?” I fake shuddered and chuckled. “That scares the shit out of me.”
“So, if I proposed, you would say no?”
I sat up and looked at him. “What? No! Of course I would say, ‘yes.’ Wait, you want to propose?”
“It was hypothetical. But I think I feel better knowing that you would say yes. The rest, we can figure out as we go.”
I tucked myself into his chest again. “You really think it’s that easy?”
I felt him running his fingers through my hair. “Yeah. I think it could be.”
We sat like that for a few minutes, snuggling.
“Can I put your ice cream in the freezer?”
“Yeah. I don’t want it to get too melty.” I climbed off of him and fit myself back into the corner of the couch.
He put the ice cream away and turned back to me. “You want to just curl up in bed, or book Amelia’s flight?”
“Bed. I’ll call Meels in the morning. But you just got home, don’t you have anything to do?”
“Just take care of my girl.”
I stood and went into the kitchen, wrapping my arms around his waist. “You’re kind of fabulous, Northman.”
“So are you, Stackhouse. I’m just trying to keep up with you.” He kissed the top of my head and led me down the hall to our bedroom.
Eric was gone already when I woke up in the morning, squeezing in a trip to the gym before he went to the set. I made coffee and grabbed both my laptop and the phone to call Amelia; with the time change, she was probably getting ready for lunch.
I called Amelia and forty-eight hours later, she was in California, and we were planning our shopping attack. For as flighty as she seemed, the woman was seriously organized. She had done an extensive internet search for dresses, saving links to the ones she liked and then searching to find out if they were available at any stores in Los Angeles. We sat in the kitchen, sipping coffee and making lists, as Eric said goodbye, heading out for the day. We waded through the options and were reviewing what we had dubbed the finalists before mapping out the store locations. Then we headed out on a mission.
We were at the third store, having taken pictures of the top dresses at stores one and two, when I called it to a halt.
“We need to go back to the first store.”
“Really? That’s the one?” she asked excitedly.
“Yeah. I can’t stop thinking about it.”
“Woo hoo! I loved it, too. Let’s go.”
‘It,’ was a black chiffon Roberto Rodriguez gown that tied at one shoulder. It had both an asymmetrical neck and waistline, with a soft grey layer of fabric within a shoulder knot and peeking out along the top of the dress. The skirt fell in pleats from the waist, flowing to the floor. It was understated, yet hinted at modern, and though I knew Pam would give me a hard time about wearing black, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I knew that with my hair down and the strand of grey freshwater pearls that had belonged to my Gran, it would be perfect.
I couldn’t believe that Amelia and I had accomplished, in less than three hours what I had been struggling with for weeks. By the time Eric got home, we were sitting by the pool, drinking Amelia’s signature margaritas and grilling chicken and potatoes in foil packets.
“Hello, ladies,” he said, coming up behind me, leaning down to kiss me.
I stood, allowing him to sit, and climbed into his lap. “How was your day?”
“It was good. The gym and riding lessons.”
“Riding lessons?” Amelia asked.
“He’s in a cowboy movie,” I said, waggling my eyebrows.
“I shoot the sheriff,” he joked, making a pistol shape with his thumb and pointer-finger.
Amelia and I giggled, singing, “I shot the sheriff. But I didn’t shoot the deputy.”
He laughed and took the glass from my hand, taking a drink and then giving it back. “You two are funny. How many drinks have you had?”
I laughed at Amelia’s enthusiasm. “You need a glass?” I put my foot down to stand up and get him one, but he squeezed me, holding me in his lap.
“Stay. I’m dusty and smell like a horse. I want to grab a quick shower. Is there time?”
“Of course. We’ll finish making the salad and everything will be ready when you get back.”
He kissed my cheek and stood, taking me with him in his arms, before letting me slide down his chest to stand on my own. “I’ll be back in a few.”
Eric walked away and Amelia smiled as she watched him, I couldn’t blame her, his ass always made me smile. “You’re still so cute together.”
I laughed. “Thanks, I think.”
We moved inside and began making a salad. I got out everything we needed, and we worked well together.
“Well, I mean, I knew you fell for him before you even had your memory back, but I haven’t seen you like this in years. You’re practically glowing. He looks good all of the time, but I’ve definitely noticed that he’s smiling more when the paparazzi catches you together.”
“Are you cyber-stalking us?”
“I wouldn’t call it stalking. I like to think of it as, looking out for you.”
“Oh really?” I snorted.
“Yes. And I have to tell you, that outfit you wore to Whole Foods last week? Burn it.”
“Ohmygod. They got pictures of that?”
“Don’t you Google yourself?”
“No! I Google Eric.”
“You need to start.”
“Alright, alright. But if that picture has been up since last week, you should have called me already!”
We were still laughing and joking when Eric came back into the kitchen, looking refreshed. He offered to help but everything was ready so he grabbed a glass, and we went back onto the patio.
“So, how was shopping?” he asked tentatively, as the three of us sat down and began serving ourselves dinner.
“No shit?” He looked at each of us to see if we were joking.
“No shit.” I smiled.
“That’s it. Amelia, you’re moving here.” We all laughed. “Do I get to see it? Or is it a surprise again.”
“You can see it.” I paused for a moment, taking a bite of chicken. “When we leave for the Nokia Theater on Sunday.”
“You’re mean.” He pointed at me with his fork as he and Amelia chuckled.
“I’m just kidding. I’ll try it on after dinner if you want.”
“Oh yes!” Amelia chimed in. “With your jewelry!”
Eric smiled as Amelia and I launched into a conversation about shoes and strapless bras. We finished eating and discussed our plans for the evening. It was Saturday, and I’d convinced Eric to take us out somewhere that Amelia might see someone famous. He’d offered to invite Sam over to the house instead, saying he was famous. In typical Amelia fashion, she latched on to what Eric said, and suddenly he was inviting Sam and Daph to join us for a night on the town.
Amelia made me go try on my dress while she and Eric cleaned up the kitchen. I went back to the bedroom and carefully put on my freshwater pearls and then the dress before calling Amelia to come help me zip the back. Afterwards, she admired me for a few seconds, agreeing that the necklace was perfect. She went to the guest room to call Tray, and I went to the kitchen to show Eric my dress.
He was putting something in the dishwasher, and turned to look at me, stopping mid-motion.
“What? You don’t like it?”
“No, that’s not it at all. You look beautiful.” He finished what he was doing and turned to look at me again. He twirled his finger at me. “Turn around. Show me the back..”
I obliged and ended, facing him with a smile. “So, you like?”
“I like very much.” He stepped forward and put his hands on my face. “I like you best when you wear nothing at all, but this is good too.” He leaned forward and kissed me, his hands moving into my hair. I put my arms around him, but was careful not to crush the dress as I kissed him back. We separated and he sighed. “Let’s send her out with Sam and Daph and stay here tonight.”
“We can’t,” I whispered back.
“I know. I just want you all to myself.”
“But I have a nice outfit picked out for tonight that I think you’d like to see.” He raised an eyebrow. “And you know I’ll be out on the dance floor with Amelia.”
“Okay. Twist my arm,” he laughed. “You need help in the shower or anything?”
“Good try, Romeo. I already showered. I just need to do my hair and make-up and change. What time will Sam and Daph be here?”
“In an hour. Will Amelia be ready?”
“If neither of us talks to her. Let me get her off the phone with Tray.” I started back down the hall to the bedroom.
“Are you sure you don’t need my help?”
I laughed and looked back at him, shaking my head. I poked my head into the guest room and Amelia turned around, still talking to Tray on her cell phone. I pointed at my watch then held up one finger, telling her we had an hour. She nodded, and I repeated the gesture, tapping my foot.
She laughed, and said into the phone, “I have to go. Sookie says we have an hour to get ready. She’s tapping her foot at me.” I knew Tray would get off the phone, so I headed out of the room as I heard her say, “Okay, baby. Love you, too.”
An hour later, I was sitting in Eric’s lap by the pool, with his hands running over my smooth, tanned legs. One hand slid around to the back of my thigh, teasing the curve of my ass. My shorts covered it when I stood up, barely, but sitting down was a different story.
“These shorts should be illegal.”
“You don’t like them?” I looked down at the red shorts, pretending to pout.
“I fucking love them. This shirt, too,” he murmured, using his long fingers to slide the spaghetti strap of my black, silk tank top off my shoulder. He leaned forward and kissed the spot where the thin strip of material should have touched my skin.
I shook my hair back over my shoulder. “Really?”
“Mm hm.” He slid my strap back up and pushed aside the strands of my necklace, kissing my chest just above the fabric of my shirt.
I had my hands in Eric’s hair, shamelessly encouraging him, when I heard the sliding glass door open.
“Whoo-eee! Get a room, brother!” Sam called from behind Daph as they came outside.
Amelia must have heard them come in the house, because she was coming through the one of the doors before they made it to the table. Eric made introductions and after talking for a few minutes, we all climbed into Sam’s Cadillac Escalade, since he was our designated driver for the night. Apparently there was a system where he and Eric alternated driving when they went out, and it was Sam’s turn. Eric sat up front with Sam, and I sat in the back between the girls as we headed to the club. We talked about the Emmy’s; Daph and I described our dresses to each other, and Amelia asked excited questions about the event.
We arrived at the W Hotel and Residences and headed upstairs in the elevator to Drai’s Hollywood. According to Daph, it was a new hot spot and had only been open six months or so. There was a Drai’s in Vegas, and this was said to rival it. I wasn’t entirely sure I was up for what she was describing, but while Amelia called me lame, Eric and Sam assured me that I would enjoy the V.I.P. area outside near the pool.
Once we passed through the several stages of security; a bouncer, a doorman, and then a promoter, we entered the club that could really only be described as a complex. There were several bars and dance areas with seating inside and in the pool area. It was amazing really, the totally different atmospheres within the same club. Sam led us to the pool area where and we found a table in the V.I.P. area.
Eric had finally embraced Amelia’s love of all things famous and shiny, and was trying to give her a “Hollywood” night. He pointed out some of the young, famous people at the club who were already on their way to wasted. I struggled with calling them celebrities, or stars, because they hadn’t done anything besides be born to rich parents and to end up on MTV, but they were out in droves.
We alternated between dancing and lounging in the V.I.P. area, drinking and having a great time. Amelia was thoroughly enjoying herself, and I had to admit, after protesting about reviewing clubs for the Times because I wasn’t really the club-going type, that I was having a great time. Amelia got crazy fangirly for a moment when we saw J. Lo and Marc Anthony, but Eric refused to ask them for a picture, he told her she was on her own, and it didn’t slow her down at all.
I came out of the bathroom with Daph at one point, and found Amelia and Eric in deep conversation, well, as deep as you can be after several cocktails.
“She’s like a sister to me, Eric,” I heard Amelia slur.
“I know she is.” He was so serious. “I would never hurt her.”
My chest tightened a little hearing his words.
“Good. Because I’ll take your balls off if you do.”
I couldn’t see their faces, but I was sure the corner of his mouth had lifted. They separated with a nod, and Meels gave me a look daring me to ask her what she’d said. I ignored her. I would ask Eric about it later. It would be funny to hear him paraphrase what she said, and it would drive her a little crazy if I wasn’t begging her to tell me about it.
When I was on the dance floor with Daph and Amelia, I could feel Eric’s eyes on me, and it only made me dance harder. He and Sam joined us to dance a couple of times and even sandwiched Amelia at one point, which I got a great picture of with my phone.
An hour or so after we got there, I came back to the dance floor from getting a drink to find Amelia doing some serious dirty dancing with a guy that I could only see from behind. I was surprised that Daph was smiling and dancing beside them like nothing was out of the ordinary, and neither Eric nor Sam seemed to be reacting. I mean, Amelia could do what she wanted, but I was apparently the only one who thought it was strange. Then they turned, and suddenly I realized what was going on. I practically jumped on top of the man, squeezing him between me and Amelia.
“What are you doing here?”
“Partyin’ with you ho’s!”
We danced to another song, and then I led the group back to Eric and Sam, who were standing together looking out over the Hollywood skyline.
“Mr. Man. Sam,” Lafayette said in greeting.
“Mr. Reynolds,” Eric replied, copying him, and Sam shook his head and smiled.
“I spent like three hours with you yesterday, and you didn’t mention coming out tonight.”
“I don’t tell you everything, Sammy,” Laf said, batting his eyelashes.
“Thank the lord,” he muttered.
It turned out that Amelia and I had both texted Lafayette to tell him where we were going. I was glad that he joined us. Being with Laf and Amelia had been just what I needed. Having Sam and Daph there too, made it even better. I got the feeling that Eric was really enjoying blending our groups of friends as well. He moved easily from talking with Sam, to Amelia, or Sam and Laf and was clearly having a great time.
We all stood around talking and laughing, which led to tequila shots and more dancing. Lafayette and Amelia together usually meant that I would end up throwing up at some point in the evening, so I was taking breaks and escaping to snuggle with Eric away from their debauchery.
We were next to each other, shoulders touching as we leaned on the railing, people watching, when I asked what he and Amelia had been talking about.
“Oh, she was being protective.”
“Of me?” I scrunched my eyebrows.
“She wanted to know what my intentions were.”
“Did you just use air quotes?” I laughed.
“I was showing you what she did.”
“If she jumped off a bridge, would you?”
“Okay, drunkgirl.” He elbowed me lightly, teasing.
“Whatever.” I laughed. “So really, she asked what your intentions were?”
“What did you tell her?”
He turned towards me, pulling me into his arms and tucking my hair behind my ear. “I told her my intentions were true. That I was in for the long haul.”
“What did she say?”
“I’m pretty sure that she was about to break into the chorus of Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies,’ but she saw you coming.”
“How does that go?” I pretended not to know the lyrics. He laughed, but wasn’t falling for it. “Well, so you know, she’s already told me she approves of you. She’s just making you squirm.”
He smiled. “I’m glad you have her. You don’t have a mom hoping for grand-kids. You have an Amelia, who wants you to get married and be happy. And she told me tonight she wants to have kids when you do, so they can grow up at the Lake together in the summers.”
I smiled and tried not to cry. I looked up at him and said quietly, “But I live here now.”
He squeezed my waist with his hands. “Yeah, but we’ll go back. The Northman kids will grow up with the Lake and the Ocean. I promise.”
I bit my lip and nodded, still looking into his eyes. This was a serious conversation and I was trying to commit it to memory. Praying the alcohol wouldn’t make me forget.
“Sexy bitches!” Lafayette screamed the name of the Akon song that the DJ was spinning, and I felt him grab my wrist, dragging me towards the dance floor with Amelia close behind. I glanced back at Eric who was smiling at us, and the moment was gone.
After dancing for a couple of songs, I felt Eric’s hands on my waist, and then the rest of his body came up against my back. When he pulled me closer, I could feel how much he had been enjoying watching me dance. After my reaction, of spinning around and practically crawling up his chest to kiss him, I was pretty sure there were going to be pictures of us making out on the dance floor posted on the internet by the time we got home. He knew better than to tease me like that when I was drinking.
Eventually, Eric stepped back and grinned at me, shaking his head. We were both breathing hard and as I looked around and my head cleared, I realized that it was getting late. I was ready to go home, to kick off my shoes and climb into bed with Eric. I glanced over and realized that we’d been abandoned on the dance floor by our friends. Daph was sitting on Sam’s lap while Amelia and Laf were sitting down near them and talking. I cocked my head towards them and Eric nodded. We made our way through the crowd to our friends, and rounded everyone up to head home.
Awwwww….what great friends! I love protective Amelia, and horny Eric is always nice, too.
So, the Emmy’s this weekend in real life, and coming soon for our fictional friends! 🙂
As always, drop me some review love or a comment, you know I love to hear what you think!