Eric showed me to the guest room last night and I tried to sleep in there. Well, I tried for about three minutes. As soon as I got under the covers my mind was flooded with questions. Who am I? Where do I live? What do I do for a living? Is there someone looking for me? Worried about me? What if I don’t remember? The thoughts bombarded me. It had been better when I was with Eric. When we were together, sitting on the couch, and even when we were outside, my brain hadn’t been in this frenzy. It had been easy to think about him; to ask him questions and listen to his smooth voice tell me stories about his life.
He was still in the bathroom getting ready for bed. I could hear the water running as I made my way down the hall. I waited in the doorway to ask him for permission to sleep in his room. It seemed so crazy. What was I doing? He was my life raft right now and I trusted him.
The bathroom door opened and he stopped in his tracks when he saw me.
“Did you need something?” he asked.
“Yeah, um…Oh, never mind. It’s stupid,” I said, turning to go. This was an awful idea. He was a total stranger. Just because he felt safe to me, I was still nothing to him.
“No, wait. Tell me, I’m sure it’s not stupid.”
“Shit,” I said, pulling my hair back. “Can I sleep in here? I can’t stop thinking in there and when I was with you tonight it was better.”
Damn, I hoped that made sense. I didn’t want to have to go back there and listen to myself, whoever I was, thinking all night long. He looked a little nervous, fuck, I was about to go back to the guest room when he spoke.
“Yes, of course. If that’s what you want to do.”
“Thank you. I just can’t be alone with my thoughts.”
He walked to the other side of the bed and stood there with a strange look on his face. I hesitated for a second on my side, then pulled back the sheets and climbed in. He wasn’t moving and I realized he was trying to figure out if I would be comfortable if he got under the covers with me. At least I hoped that was what was going on, that he wasn’t standing there totally repulsed or freaked out that I was in his bed.
Crossing my fingers under the covers, I tried to make him relax, saying, “Get in silly. It’s your bed.”
He slid under the sheets next to me and lay on his back, keeping his body close to the edge of the bed. God he was sweet. He was not at all what I imagined a gorgeous, A-list celebrity to be. This man was down to earth and a total gentleman.
With a sigh, I reached out to hold his hand under the sheet.
“Thank you,” I whispered, closing my eyes and wishing that I would wake in the morning remembering everything.
When I woke in the morning, it was with a very warm, very male body curled around me. One arm was draped over my waist and I was holding his hand tucked against my stomach. I lay still, trying to clear the sleep from my brain and remembered the paparazzi take down, the night with Eric Northman, bloody Hell, and that fact that I still had no idea who I was. Fuck.
I couldn’t help but smile to myself even though I was in the midst of this amnesiac crisis. I was thrilled with the knowledge that Eric was spooning me, and he seemed quite happy about it, or maybe his body was just saying good morning. I was going to believe that it was about me.
“Which would be good if I knew who I was,” I muttered, rolling to my back and realizing that he was awake.
He yawned, rubbing his hand over his hair and we smiled at each other. I was definitely not bringing up the spooning.
“Hi,” I said, shyly.
“Good morning. How do you feel?” he asked.
“I feel okay.”
“Do you remember anything else?”
“No,” I said quietly, shaking my head.
“It’ll be okay,” he said, reaching out to tuck a lock of hair behind my ear.
I grabbed his hand as he brought it back to his side and held it on the bed between us. We lay there for a few minutes, just grinning at each other, and then the moment was ruined.
“E! Where are you?” Someone yelled up the stairs.
“We better get up,” Eric said, “Alcide has no boundaries where I’m concerned.”
“Oh! Um, okay. I need some pants,” I said quietly. I was still under the covers in nothing but an over-sized t-shirt and my underwear.
He got out of bed and threw me some mesh workout shorts that tied at the waist. We heard Alcide heading up the stairs and I scrambled to pull the shorts on.
“I’ll be down in a second Alcide. Would you start some coffee?” Eric yelled through the door as he pulled on his clothes.
“Yeah. Um, Sookie’s friend Amelia is worried. Is she still here?”
I froze. Sookie? Was that my name? Eric looked at me questioningly and I shook my head, it didn’t mean anything to me. I suddenly realized that Eric hadn’t called anyone last night after he brought me home. Alcide didn’t even know that I lost my memory.
“Who?” Eric yelled, watching me while waited for more information.
“The girl from last night. We found her phone just after you left. Why am I yelling through the door dude? Come down here already. Is she here?”
“Are you ready?” Eric asked, putting a hand on my shoulder.
“I guess so,” I shrugged. “At least he knows who I am.” I should be excited, but I was terrified.
He squeezed my shoulder. “Hey, I’ll be right here with you. It’s okay. We need to know if you have a family or anyone looking for you. It sounds like your friend is worried.”
“Okay,” I said, exhaling. I liked the way he said, we. How had I gotten so lucky to end up with this man when I lost my memory?
We went down to the kitchen and it smelled like heaven in the form of a coffee mug.
“Morning E., Sookie. Amelia is totally worried about you. She called like five times last night.”
I looked at Alcide, blinking; what was I supposed to say? I didn’t know who Amelia was. Eric put a hand on my back, ushering me to a barstool.
“‘Cide, she doesn’t remember,” Eric said, speaking for me.
“She doesn’t remember who she is.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Alcide said, looking back and forth between our faces. “Shit. Why didn’t you call me? I’ve known who she was since like ten minutes after you left.”
“Just tell the story. Who is she and how did you figure it out?”
“Okay. Chill. We found a cell phone after you guys walked away and it had pictures of her, I mean, you on it. Your name is Sookie,” he said looking at me. “Does that ring a bell?”
I shook my head no, and he continued.
“That sucks. Anyway, we figured the phone must have been yours. Then,” he said, turning to look at Eric, “While I was trying to cover your ass with the Festival guys, the phone started ringing. I thought it might be you calling, so I answered it. Turns out Sookie was supposed to meet her friend to see your movie last night. So her friend, Amelia, was all worried and trying to figure out what happened. I told her about you getting knocked out and that Eric was taking you home and she relaxed. We exchanged numbers to be on the safe side, and then she called me about an hour later to say Sookie hadn’t shown up at home or at her hotel room.”
“Home or hotel room? What do you mean?” Eric asked.
“Oh, she’s having some work done on her house.”
“I live here?” I asked.
“Yeah. Your divorce was final yesterday and you’re moving into your family cottage here in Saugatuck. You’re having it winterized.”
“Fuck,” Eric muttered at the same time I spoke in disbelief.
“How do you know all of that?”
Alcide laughed. “Technology baby. The last picture you took on your phone was of your divorce papers, they were dated yesterday. The cottage stuff, Amelia told me,” he said with a shrug.
“Hang on, let’s call your friend,” he continued. Pulling out a pink cell phone that must have been mine, he made a call. “Amelia? Hello. Alcide Herveaux here. I found your friend, but we have a problem…Oh, no, that’s not it. Well, she’s still with Northman, yeah. But she sort of has amnesia…Yeah, that would be good. Here’s the address,” he said, rattling off the information and closing the phone. “She’s on her way.”
Eric stood behind me, putting his hand on my shoulder again and I relaxed a little. Alcide looked at us strangely, then answered his cell phone and stepped onto the balcony.
Taking a sip of my coffee, I sighed, “I don’t remember getting divorced. Shouldn’t I remember that?”
Eric laughed and sat next to me at the bar, “You don’t remember your name; it’s not surprising you don’t remember being divorced.”
Looking at him over my mug, I bit my lip. “Do you think it was my fault?”
“Your divorce?” he asked, “Well, I doubt it, but I’m sure Amelia can tell us.”
“I don’t remember her either. This really sucks.”
He laughed again, “It’ll be okay. Your friend will be here soon. It sounds like she knows you pretty well. She’ll fill us in. Just hang on, okay?”
I let out a deep breath, “I don’t really have a choice, do I?”
“Nope,” he said, standing and going to the coffee pot for a refill. He held the carafe out towards me and I nodded. I had a fleeting thought that maybe I should be doing shots of tequila or something to deal with whatever Amelia was going to say, but I couldn’t remember if I liked it, so I stuck with the coffee.
Before she could arrive, I went upstairs to change into my own clothes and brush my hair. I felt a little bad rummaging around in Eric’s bathroom, but was relieved to find a hairbrush and some mouthwash. I tried to smoothe the wrinkles from my shirt, but it really didn’t help. I realized that the only kind of deoderant he had was sporty smelling and I wasn’t interested in using that, but I found his cologne and had no problem dabbing a little of that on. I certainly wouldn’t mind smelling like Eric Northman for a while. I returned to the kitchen and smiled at Eric who had toasted bagels and set out some cream cheese. I fixed myself a bagel and ate quickly, anxious for Amelia’s arrival.
As I was finishing my breakfast, we heard quick footsteps on the bridge and a few seconds later there was a knock at the door. Eric answered it, greeting a woman that looked to be my age, and they introduced themselves to each other. She was tan, fit, had short curly chestnut hair and bright blue eyes. She wore khaki shorts, flip flops and a bright purple tank top, accented with an excess of silver jewelry. I didn’t recognize anything about her.
“Sookie!” she squealed as she came through the door and walked straight over to me for a hug. “Are you okay?”
Stiffly, I stood in her embrace. “Um, I think so. I don’t remember much of anything.”
Amelia leaned back, “Really? I mean, Alcide said you had amnesia, but…really?”
I didn’t remember her at all, but I did feel comfortable around her. Smiling, I shrugged. “Yeah. I have no idea who you are. I don’t remember who I am either though, so don’t feel bad.”
“That sucks. I’m Amelia, you’ve known me since we were kids. Do you at least know who he is?” she said, stepping back and angling her head at Eric.
“I do,” I said with a smile. “I just don’t remember the important things, you know like who I am, where I live, what I do for a living, or why I got divorced. Shit. I don’t know who I was married to.”
“Oh, well I know all of that. You’re Sookie Stackhouse, you just moved here to your families’ summer place from Chicago where you were a food writer, and you divorced slimy Bill that got his hygienist pregnant after he told you he wasn’t ready for kids. You’ve known me since before we could talk.”
“Wow that’s shitty. About slimy Bill, I mean,” I said as I took a seat on the couch with Eric.
Amelia sat across from us on a chaise, “Yeah, well, you left him a year ago; it just took forever to finalize the divorce.”
Eric cleared his throat, “Sookie had a hotel room key in her pocket and some cash. Alcide found her phone, but she didn’t have anything else. Do you think she lost her purse, should we be cancelling credit cards or something?”
“Purse?” Amelia laughed, “She probably wasn’t carrying one. When Sookie carries a purse it’s the size of a fucking suitcase; but last night we were just going to your movie and then for drinks. We know the bartender, so she didn’t need an I.D. We hardly ever pay for drinks there, so she didn’t need anything else. I’m sure her purse is at the hotel.”
“I’m a food writer?” I asked, going back to the list of things she told us.
“Yeah. You started writing a blog even though Bill thought writing was silly and then the Chicago Tribune offered you a job so you started doing that too. You quit your job to move up here and decided to just focus on the blog and write about restaurants around this area.”
“I don’t feel like I know much about food.”
“You know what you like. You’ve won a couple of awards and you’re a local favorite. You have a lot of followers on your blog.”
“This is all so crazy. Why do I remember you and not me?” I asked looking at Eric.
He smiled, but didn’t answer while Amelia laughed out loud. I didn’t get the joke.
“Sorry,” she said, “It’s just that this is kind of like having a conversation with very drunk Sookie, and you don’t let that happen very often.”
“That’s good to know,” I said.
“Yeah, well, what do you remember?”
“Let’s see,” I said, cocking my head. “Eric and I just hung out last night and I remembered little things, like, I know that there are a lot of wineries and two casinos between here and Chicago, and I wear my hair in a pony tail. I eat meat, I like Diet Coke and coffee, I know who Eric is and that about covers it.”
“Well, you’re right about all of those things. Seriously, that’s all you remember?”
“So far. Is there anything I should know?”
“Yeah. You’re allergic to strawberries and you hate coconut. Even the smell of it turns your stomach.”
“Really? That’s weird. I don’t feel like it would bother me.”
“Oh God! You know that song “If you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain?”
Eric and I were laughing and nodding. Shit. I can remember that damn song, but not my name? So unfair.
“You change the words. You always sing “If you HATE pina coladas,” it was a big joke because Lorena always ordered them, and then, well, after everything, you hated them even more.”
“Umm,” Amelia said, glancing between Eric and me, “She’s the hygienist Bill knocked up.”
“Oh. Wow. Yeah, I guess I do hate pina coladas.”
“Hey, don’t get all twisted up. You took the high road, kicked him out on his ass and filed for divorce within the week. You’re a tough cookie.”
“If you say so,” I said with a shrug. It sounded like my life had been pretty fucked up for the last year.
Eric had been taking everything in as we spoke. He raised an eyebrow and asked, “So now what?”
“Oh, I can just take her home and show her around,” Amelia said. “I’m sure you’ll remember everything when you’re in familiar surroundings.”
I wasn’t so sure about that. There were butterflies in my stomach, and I really just wanted to hide out here until I either remembered everything or Eric forced me to leave when his rental was up.
The sliding door opened and Alcide came in, shaking his head. “Well kids, we have a problem,” he said.
“We know,” Eric said dryly.
“Sookie?” Alcide said, looking at me. “Yeah, well, she’s double trouble. Some paparazzi got a picture of you two walking to your car. He followed you back here and knows she never left. It just hit the press in California.”
“What just hit the press?” I said, feeling sick to my stomach.
“That Eric had a fling with a local.”
“Shit,” Eric and I said at the same time.
“Wait, it gets better. Your ex-husband identified you,” Alcide said looking at me again.
“They printed her name?” Eric asked.
“Name, marital status and a picture from her wedding to the good dentist.”
“Mother fucker!” Amelia said. I was thinking the exact same thing.
“Pam is fucking livid,” Alcide told Eric. “The Festival people are probably pissed, because it looks like you just bailed to fuck around.”
Eric ran his hand through his hair, “What the fuck Alcide?”
“They’re vultures dude. What can I say?” he said, shaking his head at Eric. “We need to think fast. You can’t come off like a womanizing bastard. Being single is okay, but a public one night stand is not good dude.”
“Jesus,” Eric said, looking at the ceiling and shaking his head. “This is ridiculous.”
“How can we explain how you two met?” Alcide was thinking out loud and I was looking at Eric and Amelia, in utter confusion.
“I think I need chocolate. No, not chocolate…What do I eat when I’m feeling, out of sorts?” I said, glancing at Amelia.
“Tiramisu,” she answered, smiling.
“Yeah, I think I love that stuff.”
“Ha ha! You do! You’ve always got some in your freezer from Rose Angelis in Chicago.”
“Rose Angelis?” Eric asked, looking a little pale.
“I don’t know,” I said.
“Yeah, you blogged that the first time you ate tiramisu at their restaurant it was so good you cried and -”
“And you bought an entire pan of it to take home,” Eric finished for Amelia.
How the Hell did he know that?
Holy Shiz Batman! How does Eric know about the tiramisu! Ha ha!
Links – if you like those kind of things:
Rose Angelis actually exists. I haven’t been there in a couple of years, but it was out of this world when I went. It’s located at 1314 West Wrightwood Avenue – Chicago
If you need to hear the Pina Colada song – it’s called Escape (The Pina Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes.