Thanks so much for your reviews! These two are just, so cute I wanna pinch their cheeks!
BIG Thanks to A Red Head Thing and Sapfirerose for prereading and betaing this puppy. We’re having so much fun as wondertriplets! 😉 Red just posted a new chapter of her story I‘m on Fire, go check it out!
And all three of us are entered in the Dead Pan contest – please go read and review the entries! It’s anonymous, so see if you can figure out which one is mine! Hee hee!
I had turned my phone off after talking to Lafayette. It had been ringing constantly, with a string of, “Oh, my God! Why didn’t you tell me?” messages. I played them back in the morning over coffee and I laughed at most of them, but there was one that made me fume.
“Susannah.” My name is Sookie, asshole. “I’ve seen the latest pictures of you and your boyfriend. I must say, well played. I had no idea that your devastated little housewife bit was all an act to get even more money from me. You’re a gold-digging whore, and trust me; I’m saving every one of these clippings for any future proceedings. Bitch.”
My eyes teared up and Eric grabbed my phone to listen to the message. He was furious and apologetic at the same time; his jaw was tight and his eyes stormy. I thought he might be more upset than I was.
“Eric, it’s okay. He’s an ass. It just took me by surprise. I mean, he’s just hurt that I was able to move on and find someone better when he’s stuck with Lorena.” I had no idea where that came from, but I actually meant it. I did however, save the message on my phone.
“How dare he? I can’t believe he would say those things about you. You trust meSookie, he will not smear you in the papers. I’ll make sure of that.”
“He’s not going to do anything. He’s a child, and he’s just lashing out.” At least I thought he was. From what I remembered, Bill was all talk. I sighed and took my mug to the sink. Putting a hand out, I tried to smile at Eric. “I’m getting in the shower. Are you coming?”
He looked startled, and then broke into a grin. “I wouldn’t miss it, Lover.”
A little while later, Amelia and I escaped a group of paparazzi at the end of my driveway and headed to the mall.
She was wide eyed as she drove out of town. “Seriously? That’s crazy.”
“Did you hear them? They were shouting your name. Do you think I’m going to end up in a magazine or on the internet? Ohmyfuckinggod. That would be soooo cool!”
“Oh, right. Yeah. That’s just wild though. I mean, Ruben told me he helped Eric walk you to the car from the club, but…Wow.”
We had a great morning shopping; Amelia really did need my help. She couldn’t pick out clothes for herself to save her life. I truly considered calling those people from ‘What Not to Wear.’ We laughed and talked, remembering some of the fun summers we had together, with her filling me in on things I still didn’t recall.
I’d been waiting for it all day, but we were driving home when she finally asked what was going on with me and Eric.
“Gah. I don’t know, Meelz.”
“How do you feel about him? One word.”
I wrinkled up my face. “Love?” It was the only word that described what I thought I was feeling, but could it really be love?
“Okay, that shouldn’t be a question. You either feel it or you don’t.”
“I think I do, but how do I know? I don’t remember half of anything! What if I just feel this way because he’s all that I know?”
“You’re joking, right?” She looked at me, and realized I was serious. “Shit. You’re not. Alright, that’s crazy talk, Sookie. I hate to break it to you, but if you think you love him, you do. Anyway, how’s the sex?” She glanced over at me, raising an eyebrow.
“Oh my god, Amelia. You have no idea.”
“I probably do, you just don’t remember.” I looked at her, confused. She shrugged. “I used to get around.”
“Yeah. Anyway, so it’s that good? I believe it. He looks like he could -”
I interrupted her, laughing. “Stop. You’re right, he can. Let’s leave it at that.”
“What about everything else? You’ve always been into communicating. You used to say that was one of the big problems with Bill; that he didn’t listen to you.”
“Eric’s a great listener. And he’s been taking care of me. I mean, how many people would take in a strange amnesiac and spend their vacation with her?”
“That’s one interpretation.”
I snorted. “Whatever. He’s genuinely kind too, it’s amazing really. I keep having to stop myself from thanking him for the sweet things he does.”
“Oh fuck. I hated that, the way you always thanked Bill for shit.”
“Why did I do that?”
She looked at me like I had completely lost my mind. I actually thought she was going to pull the car over. “You did it, because Bill was an ass, because he would pout if you weren’t constantly praising him. If you didn’t thank him for opening the fucking door for you he would sulk. I think after a while it was just a habit.”
“And I put up with that? What kind of dishrag was I?”
She reached over and patted my hand. “You were a damn cute dishrag. One who was just starting to come to her senses when she found out that her douchey husband was actually a cheating douchebag.”
“That’s what I’m here for.” She smiled. “Don’t start thanking Hollywood for everything. I don’t think he expects it, or needs it for that matter.”
“I know. I can tell he’s doing things for me because he wants to, not just so that I’ll thank him or think more of him.”
“He’s a hell of a guy, Sookie. He’s way more down to Earth than I ever expected.”
“Yeah, he’s pretty great.”
“What’s the big picture? Since, although you can’t admit it, you’re in love with him.”
I laughed. Amelia was so upfront with everything. “I don’t know yet. He asked me to come to California for Fourth of July, but that’s as far as we’ve gotten.”
“You know he can’t stay here, right? At least not year round.”
“I know.” I nodded, thinking to myself that for things to work, I would have to make some compromises, hell, some big changes. I laughed out loud and Amelia glanced over in question. “It’s so crazy. I mean, this is perfect timing. It’s not like I’m settled in here. If I wanted to pack up the car and move to California, I could totally do it.”
“There are restaurants out there to blog about.”
I smiled. “I already thought of that.”
“Are you going to tell him that you’re thinking about it?”
“Probably not until he asks.”
She shook her head. “Why is it that when people date they lose their common sense? Communication, Sookie. Tell him. Don’t wait for him to ask.”
“That’s easy for you to say. What if he doesn’t want me to come to California? What if this really is just a summer fling for him?”
“Those are questions you need to ask Eric. And sweetie, I suggest you ask them sooner than later.”
The next few days flew by. Pam emailed several times; telling Eric about parties she wanted him to attend when he returned to California, but for the most part it was uneventful. Bill hadn’t called back, thank god. Eric’s brothers had been calling to finalize plans, and I could tell he was excited to see them. He and I were even more comfortable with each other, and were getting into a routine. We spent time together and were beginning to settle into coupledom, but we still did our own things. We sunbathed together a couple of times, but he had no problem giving me a kiss and leaving me to soak in the sun while he did other things. In the evenings, he studied his scripts and went to the gym while I worked on my blog or sorted through closets and drawers at the house.
Late Tuesday, or early Wednesday, however you wanted to look at it, we were woken up by Eric’s cell phone. He sat up, rubbing his face, and seemed really confused as he listened, not just because he was half asleep. He looked at me furtively, “Wait? What?” He stood, and quickly walked to the living room, completely naked.
I heard him murmuring on the phone for about five minutes, and then it was silent. After another five minutes, when he hadn’t come back to bed, I got up to check on him. He was sitting on the couch with his head in his hands. Something was very wrong.
“Eric?” His head snapped up. He looked like he was in pain, and I felt an ache in my chest. “What is it? Is everyone okay?”
He opened his mouth, and had to clear his throat before he spoke. “Everyone is fine. Come sit down.”
I stood still, afraid to hear whatever it could be.
“Please, come sit. We need to talk.”
Walking over, I sat tentatively on the couch next to him. He took my hand and looked into my eyes; what I saw there wasn’t reassuring.
“That was Pam.” He shook his head. “Shit. This is so bizarre. I don’t even know what to say.”
“You’re scaring me.”
“I’m sorry.” He raked a hand through his hair. “So, it’s only 11 p.m. in California, and Pam called because something weird just happened.”
“Apparently.” He muttered, sighing, and shook his head again, like he couldn’t believe what he was about to say. “Sophie Anne went into Chateau Marmont a little while ago, and she said something crazy.”
“Someone asked how she was enjoying being single, and she said she wasn’t; single that is.” He met my eyes. “She told them we were dating.”
“What?” Why would she do that? It wasn’t true. Pam had just announced that Eric and I were a couple. He hadn’t even talked to Sophie Anne.
“She was kind of drunk, but that’s what she said.” I opened my mouth to say something about how ridiculous it was and he interrupted me. “There’s more. She played them one of my voice-mails on speaker phone. You know, it was pretty vague, but I said that I hoped she was alright and I’d talk to her later.”
“That doesn’t mean anything!” I was being supportive on the outside, but I had no idea how. On the inside I was freaking out. What the hell was going on? This was bad. The whole summer fling idea was to protect him from looking like a womanizer, now he looked like a cheating bastard.
“Pam’s trying to figure out what’s going on. She’s issuing a denial, and I might to have to say something publicly.” He looked at his hands. “I’m so sorry.”
“Do you need to go back to California?” I couldn’t decide how I wanted him to answer.
“No! I mean, no. I want to stay here, with you, if you’re still okay with that.”
Was I? Sophie Anne was lying through her teeth, I didn’t doubt that, but did I want to be a part of this mess anymore? Would this be what my life was like if I went to California; a constant fight against bad press and psycho Hollywood drama? The more I thought about things, I knew that I wanted Eric, but I wasn’t sure I could handle the rest of it.
He squeezed my hand. “Sookie? Do you want me to stay?” He looked sick. I didn’t know if it was because he was afraid of my answer, or if the whole situation hand turned his stomach.
I gazed into his eyes for a long second. “I want you to stay Eric, but this scares the hell out of me. I don’t know if I can do this long term.”
He snorted. “No one wants to do this long term.” He rubbed his face and sighed again. “Sookie, I understand what you’re saying, really. Just, please don’t give up on us.”
I nodded, and we looked at each other for a few seconds. “I’m tired. I’m going back to bed.” Who was I kidding? I wanted to curl up in ball and cry my eyes out.
He kept hold of my hand as I stood, and raised his face to look at me as I stood in front of him. He didn’t say a word, he didn’t need to, he wanted me to tell him it would be okay, that I wouldn’t give up, and even though I wanted to, I couldn’t say it.
I pulled on his hand, and he stood, following me back to the bedroom where we climbed in bed and he spooned himself around me. When I thought he was asleep, I finally let the sob I’d been holding in escape my chest. His arms tightened around me and more tears rolled down my face.
“It’s going to be okay, Sookie. We’re going to be fine.”
My thoughts continued to swirl, and though I must have, I don’t know how I fell asleep. I woke in the morning feeling sick. Eric was holding my hand and I could tell by the tension in his fingers that he was awake. Even though I wanted to get up and go into the bathroom to hide, I rolled over to face him.
“Hi. Did you sleep?” I touched the puffy skin under is eye.
“Not much.” He sighed. “Sookie, I am so sorry that you are mixed up in this.”
“You didn’t do this.”
“I know, but none of this would have happened if it weren’t for me.”
“Eric, I’m glad that it happened, that we’ve spent time together. I just don’t know if I can handle everything that comes with you.” I felt like we were in a warped version of the movie Notting Hill. I knew I should be looking at him like he was any other man, but unfortunately, there was more to consider; like my heart. “Just give me some time. I’m not saying that I want you to leave, because I don’t. I just need to think.”
“I understand.” He kissed my forehead and I felt horrible for him, because none of this was his fault.
We spent an awkward morning trying to act like things were fine. Pam called when we were finishing lunch, telling us to check the internet to watch the footage of Sophie Anne. We watched the unreal scene unfold, a drunken starlet wobbling as she exited a limo, taking the arm of a friend to steady herself as she walked towards the building. The conversation played out between her and a photographer in less than a minute, including Eric’s voice-mail, and then she staggered away from the press. The article flanking the embedded video stated that her reps hadn’t responded to requests for comments; while Eric’s people, or Pam, really, was denying any relationship outside of their friendship as coworkers. Further, she pointed out, that the message was vague and meant nothing.
Eric had Pam on speaker phone, so when the video finished, she cleared her throat and spoke. “So, her people are not returning my calls. However, Gothboys’ people called me right away. He is ‘indisposed’ and has not been taking calls from anyone, including Sophie Anne. If I had to guess, he’s back at Choices Malibu drying out again. Anyway, they think this is her attempt to make him jealous and the two of you are collateral damage.”
“Okay. So what do we do next?” I wasn’t used to this, spinning stories for the press, business. Eric grabbed my hand, and Pam sighed, loudly.
“I’m glad to hear you still saying we; that will help us. The two of you need to make some public appearances and you need to appear as corny and in-lust with each other as you have been. It would also be nice if you had your lawyer make a statement. You know, say that her claims are ridiculous and you were with Eric when he left the message, and that you trust him completely. Ithink that about covers it.”
“Did you need me to go to the studio and tape something?”
Pam cackled. “Studio? I’m not sure this can wait until you get back.”
“There are studios here. The closest is Grand Rapids, or we could have someone come out to the house.”
“No, we’ve made our statement. When you get hounded, you can stick with the standard ‘No comment,’ and throw in a ‘We’re very happy, thanks.’ Oh, and a little PDA would be nice. I’ll call you if anything else comes up. I’m going to stalk Sophie Anne’s people some more. You know how I feel about people who don’t return my calls.”
“yeah, that I do.” He laughed.
“Goodbye, Pam. I’ll call my attorney.”
“I knew you would.” I snorted, despite how bitchy she sounded, and she disconnected the call.
Eric cleared his throat. “I guess we should go to dinner tonight.”
“Yeah. I’m going to call Sid Matt Lancaster, my attorney, then work on my blog. I’ll think of somewhere to go.” I walked to the kitchen feeling a little lost.
I was tired. Tired of the bullshit, and the drama. More than anything, I was tired of being alone. After being with Sookie for even this short time, the thought of going back to my lonely house and my plastic life turned my stomach. The sad thing was that I wasn’t even into the ‘star’ lifestyle. I avoided it as much as I could, but being with her, I could let my guard down, I could be Erik, and I rarely got to be him anymore.
She made her phone call and I listened to the cadence of her voice. I couldn’t hear the words, just the tone and the tempo. I couldn’t imagine what she’d told Sid Matt, although from what she’d told me about him when she remembered the details of her divorce, I was sure he’d been expecting her call. After a while, the sounds of her voice ceased and I began to hear the clicking of her keyboard. I tried to read over my script, but I couldn’t concentrate. I kept reading the same section over and over.
Amelia came over and Sookie went outside to sit on the stoop with her. They talked quietly for a while, and I felt like a complete ass. Amelia gave me a smile and a wave before she left. I figured that meant she didn’t hate me for dragging Sookie’s name through, well, whatever the hell was going on. Sookie went back into the kitchen and I heard the sounds of her typing again.
My phone rang and I groaned. It was Sam, and I was due for a great big I-fuckin’-told-you-so.
“Hello. Is this the two timing dumb shit?”
“Hey, Sam. You know it’s bullshit, but go ahead and say what you’re going to say.”
“Let’s see. What could I have to say to you? Oh, wait, I remember. Told you so.”
“Thanks. You actually just made me laugh.”
“Dude. When you introduced me to her on set, I told you Sophie Anne was a big bag of crazy. You tried to say it was just her boyfriend.”
“Yeah. I remember the conversation.”
“Let’s just recap. I’m enjoying the fact that I was right. I told you crazy attracts crazy, but you said, ‘No. She’s a nice girl.’ Then what did I tell you? I said, ‘Nice girls run away from crazy, but that chick, she’s cozyin’ up to the crazy campfire, and it’s not going to end well.’ Now look what’s happened. She’s dragged your ass into crazyland.”
“Thanks for that walk down memory lane. Did you just call to rub my face in it?”
He sighed. “No. I really called to say I was sorry she’s being such a bitch and to see how you and Sookie were doing, but I had to get the rest of that off my chest.”
We talked for a while and I told Sam that Sookie wasn’t upset with me; she knew there was nothing between me and Sophie Anne, but she wasn’t sure about the “Hollywood” interference in my life.
He knew how much that sucked. He and Daphne had gone several rounds about Hollywood drama when they first got married, but in the end she loved Sam too much to let it get in the way. I hoped that Sookie would feel the same way.
I checked my watch around four o’clock, and realized that the kitchen was quiet. I set my things down and went to see if she’d decided where she wanted to go to dinner. Stopping in the doorway, I leaned against the frame and smiled. She was sleeping, with her head on her arms at the table. I watched her for a moment, and then went over to her, putting my hand on her shoulder.
Sookie murmured something and put her hand over mine. She sat up and stretched, and it was like the last twelve or so hours hadn’t happened. She looked at me, and I watched the smile slip away from her eyes.
“Do you know where you want to go to dinner?”
“Oh, yeah. Let’s go to The Curragh in Holland, it’s an Irish pub. Holland is like twenty minutes north, it’s not far.”
I nodded. “Okay. That sounds good.”
“I’ll grab a shower.” She pulled her hand from mine and went to the other room. No matter what I wanted, I knew better than to join her.
I was more than shocked that there weren’t any photographers outside her house when we left. We drove up to Holland, barely talking. I was going to need to lay my feelings out. She said that she needed to think, but she didn’t have all of the information.
We drove down 8th Street looking for a parking place when I saw the crowd as she pointed out the restaurant. “What the?”
“I told Sid Matt. I’m sure he told Pam where we’d be tonight.”
“Sookie, you didn’t need to do that.”
“Eric, whatever is happening, they can’t think you’re cheating on me. Your reputation is important to your career. People feel like they actually know you. I can’t have them think badly of you when it’s not true, especially if there’s something I can do about it.”
I thanked her, and she blushed. Walking around the Jeep, I opened her door and she took my hand as we walked up the block. Flashes started going off as we approached the restaurant, and I noticed that Sookie had already learned to put her head down, hiding her face. That pissed me off. She should never feel like she needed to hide. As we walked through the gauntlet, photographers began yelling their questions.
“Are you together?”
“Did you hear what Sophie Anne said?”
“Are you cheating on Sookie?”
My favorite was the guy who asked if I was cheating on Sophie Anne. Asshole. Ireally wanted to hit him.
Sookie and I pushed though them without a word. The hostess looked a little overwhelmed, but she was friendly and led us to a table away from the windows. I thanked her profusely.
We looked at the menu. Things were still a little awkward between us, but I was encouraged that she had made the move to hold my hand. Sookie ordered a crazy drink that they called a Black Apple, it turned out to be a Black and Tan made with Strongbow cider beer instead of Bass Ale, and Guinness. I went for straight Guinness draught, since they actually seemed to know how to pour it. We ordered two helpings of bangers and mash, and laughed because we both wanted the same thing. It seemed to break the ice, and we talked quietly until the food came.
Sookie had another drink after dinner, and then we decided to head home since there wasn’t any live music. We paid the tab and headed for the door. I asked Sookie where she wanted me, and she pulled me behind her. I put my hands on her shoulders, and we went out into the throng of paparazzi. They hurled the same questions at us and crowded in, effectively cutting off our path down the sidewalk. I knew enough to know that they wanted me to get mad, so I didn’t let my irritation show.
“Excuse us.” I kept my hands on Sookie’s shoulders and we stopped walking, which could have been a big mistake, but we caught a break as a photographer seemed to get jostled out of the way, and slipped through the crack between people.
“That wasn’t bad,” she said quietly as we walked away from them.
“No. Not really. You know I hate it, right?”
She sighed. “I do.”
I opened her door, and before stepping in, she turned to me. “Thank you for dinner.” She stood on her tiptoes and gave me a kiss, but it wasn’t the kiss I was expecting.
With everything that was going on, I thought she would give me a sweet peck, but she wrapped her arms around my neck and really kissed me. I was shocked. My arms went around her, as I kissed her back. I vaguely realized that there were flashes going off behind us. Had she kissed me for a photo op? Was she just doing it for the cameras? I pulled back, looking down into her eyes, she looked sexy as hell and she was grinning at me. What the hell did it mean? “Sookie?”
“Let’s go home,” she said quietly. I walked around to the driver’s side, still unsure what what was going on in her head.
I climbed into the Jeep, and we got out on the road. Sookie took my hand, and I relaxed, tension melted off my shoulder. I glanced at her. “What are you thinking?”
She sighed. “I don’t know. I’m thinking about how much I enjoy being with you. How much I hate those photographers. How I’m going to miss you. Oh, and I’m plotting evil revenge on Sophie Anne for you.”
“Wow. Are you sure you’re not reading my mind?”
She laughed, and it sounded wonderful. We didn’t talk about it anymore, instead discussing the plans to pick my brothers up at the airport. We watched some TV when we got home and then got ready for bed. I didn’t want to assume that we were still sleeping together, but she hadn’t said anything differently. I took my time brushing my teeth, and let her get into bed first. I stood in the doorway and she smiled.
“Come on. It’s warm in here.”
Crawling under the covers, I rolled over to face her. I exhaled and figured it was time to jump off the cliff. “Sookie, I don’t know how you feel about me. I mean, I know you’re trying to figure things out, but I need to tell you something.”
“I don’t want to go back to California without you. I know that I have to, but I don’t want to. I don’t want to go home and be alone. After being with you, I don’t want to be with anyone else. I hate the drama as much as you do; unfortunately, I’m just used to it. Shit. I think what I want to say, is if you want to be with me, I’ll do whatever I can to help make the other stuff easier. If you want me to come here when I’m not filming, and if you don’t ever want to come to Los Angeles, we’ll figure it out. I’m falling in love with you. I can’t believe all of this bullshit is happening when I finally found you.” I moved a lock of hair over her shoulder and smiled. “I don’t expect you to say anything. I just needed to you to know.”
“Eric. I’m falling for you too, and I want to be able to ignore that stuff, but I’m scared. What if I can’t get used to it?” She sighed. “Why is this so hard?”
I was gazing down at her, feeling a million times better that she said she was falling for me too, but hating that she was so uncertain. “I don’t know, Sookie. I wish I could make it easier for you.”
She rolled over, and snuggled against me in her favorite spoon position. “Just hold me. I feel better when your arms are around me.”
The Curragh in Holland, MI