Red Carpet

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EPOV

The limo actually seemed crowded with Pam and Alcide riding along with Sookie and me. Maybe it was because all I could think about was Sookie; and the way she’d been stretched out on the seat of a limo only a few nights before. She and I sat along the back seat of the car, my arm around her shoulder. I was mindlessly making patterns on her upper arm with my fingers, just needing to touch her.

“Sookie, you look lovely. Black is a good color for you, well, for everyone.” Pam’s voice dripped insincerity.

“Thanks, Pam,” Sookie said as she rolled her eyes. “Black looks lovely on you, as well. It matches your cold, dead heart.”

I looked at them with wide eyes and Alcide almost spit out some of the bottled water he was sipping.

“Midwest milkmaid,” Pam deadpanned.

“Bitch,” Sookie said, the corner of her mouth lifting.

“Yes, I am,” Pam agreed in all seriousness, then she laughed. “But I’m just preparing you for the fangirls.”

I sighed, and Sookie giggled as she turned to kiss my cheek gently. She pulled back and wiped away the traces of her lipstick with her fingers.

“We’re just teasing, Eric,” Sookie smiled.

“Get over it,” Pam said as she hit me on the knee with her evening bag.

“Don’t fucking gang up on me!” I laughed.

The car slowed down as we entered the limo traffic approaching the Nokia Theater. Sookie sat forward, trying to look around me to watch the cars, grinning from ear to ear.

“You can’t see anyone. They all have tinted windows,” I chuckled.

“I’ll see them soon enough!” She sounded giddy, triumphant even.

Her excitement was rejuvenating me. I’d become a little desensitized to some of the Hollywood glitz and glamour before I met her. I smiled and squeezed her shoulder, pulling her tighter against me. The car inched up slowly, and Sookie’s knee began to bounce faster and faster the closer we got.

“Is she going to be alright?” Pam asked, arching a brow at me.

“I’m right here. I’ll be fine, Pam. This is just exciting for me.”

“Do not embarrass me or Eric tonight with any of this Midwestern foolishness.”

“Can I embarrass Alcide?”

“By all means.”

“Hey! That’s just mean,” Alcide whined, and I laughed.

The four of us were a good mix, and I was glad that Sookie had taken to Pam and Alcide. They were both a little obnoxious on the surface, but they were damn good at their jobs, and I felt lucky to have them on my side.

The vehicle came to a stop, and someone opened the door for us. I stepped out and reached back inside for Sookie. She stood gracefully, and although I’m sure we were caught on a television camera somewhere, we had a few seconds to breathe before we were bombarded with photographers, shouting fans, and reporters.

Pam and Alcide got out of the car and stood beside us. I heard Pam giving Alcide instructions, and he was more than happy to leave.

“Enjoy the sunshine, suckers. I’ll be inside in the air-conditioning,” he joked as he walked away.

I shook my head as Pam called after him, “You’re working. Behave.”

I put my arm around Sookie and glanced down at her. “Ready?”

She nodded, and we began moving down the red carpet with Pam walking behind us. It was loud as fans and reporters alike were screaming at us to look at them or come over for a picture. The fans and reporters were on opposite sides of the carpet, and after being greeted by Nate Berkus, I squeezed Sookie’s hand and stepped away from her to say hello to some fans. I posed for pictures, signed some autographs, and shook hands for a few minutes before moving back across the carpet to the celebrity side. There were reporters stationed along the walk way, with tents, or awnings set up for the entertainment shows, like Extra and Access Hollywood, as well as the NBC Red Carpet Show. Sookie stood proudly at my side or waited patiently with Pam each time we stopped.

I had done several interviews already when I saw Nancy O’Dell ahead of me. I sighed, and approached her with trepidation. It wasn’t that I was angry with her, she was only doing her job, but I was anxious to see if she tried to shock me again. She didn’t even work for Access Hollywood anymore, which I hadn’t realized until after the premiere. Pam told me later that Nancy had retired and was a contributing reporter for the Today Show and Dateline NBC. At any rate, she was a standard on the red carpet, and I was going to grin and bear it.

“Nancy.” I smiled and nodded. I felt Pam step closer to me than she had for the other interviews. Nancy felt her presence as well.

“Eric.” She said my name slowly, trying to be charming, but it came off sickeningly sweet. “Great to see you again. Do you think Bloodlust will win tonight?”

Her ridiculous question was almost worse than if she’d asked something obnoxious. Did she think I was going to say no?

“I certainly hope we win tonight, but all of the shows we’re nominated with are good too, so it’s any one’s guess.”

She continued to smile at me the entire time I spoke, but her eyes were far away, like she was plotting her next question while I answered her. I wondered if she’d even listened to me at all.

“What are your plans when you finish Western Sky? Do you have anything else lined up?”

“I do. A project called True Illusions. It’s a sort of love triangle. There’s a fairly innocent young woman, and I play one of her suitors. There will be some psychological influence going on, and a whole lot of lying and manipulating. It’ll be hard to tell who the good guy is and who the bad guy is sometimes.”

“Which one are you?”

I chuckled. “I can’t tell you that.”

She laughed, and it sounded fake even to me. “Well, it sounds interesting. We’ll have to keep an eye out for it.”

“Great,” I said, trying to sound like I really cared what she thought. Thankfully, I felt Pam grab my elbow.

“Have a good night, Nancy. We need to move on.” At least she didn’t tell her that I needed to talk to real reporters like she did last time.

I stepped away and walked only a few steps before I encountered another television camera. I repeated the process several more times, sometimes only being asked about Bloodlust and other times talking about my new projects as well. Everyone smiled at Sookie but only Giuliana Rancic from E! had the balls to invite her to join us.

“Ohmygosh! Sookie come here!” Giuliana practically squealed. “Who are you wearing?”

“Oh!” Sookie’s eyes lit up. “Roberto Rodriguez. Isn’t it great?”

“It’s lovely. And your pearls? They’re the perfect shade of grey!”

“I know, aren’t they? They were my grandmother’s!”

“Awww. That’s so sweet! Who do you want to meet tonight?”

For a second I felt like I wasn’t even there, and it made me grin, because I knew exactly how Sookie felt when she stood by waiting for me.

“Um. Maybe Tom Colicchio from Top Chef, or Ed O’Neil; I grew up watching him on Married with Children! Ohmygosh! And Neil Patrick Harris! I’d love to meet him!”

“Those are all men’s names,” Giuliana giggled and then she looked at me. “Are you up for the competition?”

I laughed. “Yeah, I’m good. I think I could take them.”

We all laughed, and Giuliana asked me a couple of questions about the coming season of Bloodlust before Pam gently directed us to move on again. Sookie was beyond thrilled.

“Oh my god! I was totally just interviewed on the red carpet!”

I heard Pam snort beside me. “Yeah, you were,” I chuckled, grinning down at her.

We had reached to entrance to the theater finally; Pam showed our passes and we went in through the VIP doors. The bar closed at 4 p.m. and we had about forty minutes, so I took Sookie’s hand and got in line for drinks. Her eyes were as big as saucers as we stood side by side with some big name celebrities. Glenn Close smiled down at her, and I was afraid she was going to pass out, but she held it together.

It seemed like only minutes later when they were closing the bar and herding us into the theater. Sookie and I were seated near the front with all of the other nominees and presenters. We settled in, quietly identifying celebrities in the theater and critiquing their attire.

Mostly it was Sookie, saying things like, “Oh, what do you think of that?” or “That dress is amazing.” My favorite though, was when she whispered, “Holy shitballs! That chick’s boobs are huge!”

Eva La Rue was standing behind us, who Sookie later told me was on CSI: Miami. She covered her mouth for a moment to stifle her laughter. Then her eyes sparkled as she smiled at Sookie. “Seriously. And the neckline on that dress isn’t helping!”

They both giggled, and I was relieved that she wasn’t offended, but really, the woman in question did have huge breasts that were practically spilling out of her light purple dress. Shortly after that it was time for the program to begin. We sat down, and Sookie took my hand in hers, rubbing circles with her thumb the way I usually did.

Jimmy Fallon started the night out with a rendition of Springsteen’s Born to Run. His jokes throughout the night included a fair amount of audience participation that sometimes fell flat, but the crowd at the Emmys was tough, so I had to give him credit for even trying. I didn’t have to wait for too long for Fallon to make a joke about Sophie Anne. Less than thirty minutes into the show, he turned her attack on me into a joke.

“Acting is harder than anyone outside the industry realizes. You never know when your coworkers are going to stab you in the back, or bite you in the neck, for that matter.”

He looked towards me and smirked, then shrugged his shoulders and continued his short monologue. I simply laughed along with everyone else and smiled back at him and at the cameras that I knew were trained on me. Sookie did the same and I was proud of her. It was one thing for me to get razzed over Sophie Anne’s insanity, but I hated that Sookie had to deal with it as well. Off and on I was aware of the camera zooming in on Sookie or me, but there was nothing else specifically targeted at us.

Throughout the show we were able to stand and stretch when there were commercial breaks. During those times, guests were allowed to leave the theater for the restroom, but if you didn’t make it back inside before the commercial ended, you were locked out until the next break. Sookie and I didn’t want to risk it, so we stayed put. She spent some of those breaks chatting with Eva, apparently she had gotten married in June, and other times she and I talked about the categories coming up or the winners that had been announced.

Eventually it was time for the award for Best Drama to be announced. Sookie laced her fingers through mine and gave my hand a squeeze as they listed the nominees. The winner was read, and although I smiled and clapped, my heart had sunk when they read the name Mad Men from AMC. This was their second year in a row to take the award. I supposed that it was the best way to lose, to the reigning winner, but I was disappointed none the less.

At the next commercial break, Sookie turned and gave me a shy smile. “I’m sorry, Eric. I know you were hoping to be up there with your cast.”

I gave her a lopsided smile and shrugged. “We were a long shot.”

“Twelve to one odds this morning when I looked.”

“What?”

“I Googled it.”

“You Googled the odds of Bloodlust winning an Emmy?” She hesitated, then nodded, and I burst out laughing. “Do you even understand what that means?”

She giggled. “I Googled that too. It means if you won, and I had bet on you, if there was betting on the Emmys. Is there? I don’t even know,” she rambled, then regained her focus. “Anyway, if I won they’d give me twelve dollars for every dollar I bet.”

I grinned at her and shook my head. She was adorable. Whose girlfriend did shit like that? “You’re crazy,” I teased.

“Aw. You love me.”

“I do,” I chuckled and leaned over to give her a quick kiss. I heard Eva say something behind me about us being cute, and I couldn’t help but smile.

When the show ended, we left the theater with a crowd of people to walk over to the Governor’s Ball at the Convention Center. Pam and Alcide had gone straight to the HBO party and were sending the car back for us, so we headed over without waiting for them. We waited in a large mass outside. It was crowded but there was tight security; they checked every one’s tickets at least twice before they were allowed in.

We mingled for a few minutes but quickly found our seats since everyone was hungry and ready for a cocktail. The dinner was mediocre, with lamb that was too rare for my taste and a disappointing cake. Duncan Hines had sponsored dessert for the event, but the cake was not good advertising for them. After a taste of it, Sookie put her fork down and looked at me with confusion in her eyes. Food and restaurants were her thing, and the dinner was almost distressing to her.

Quietly, she said, “Is it always like this?”

I tried to think of something to say, or an excuse to make, but I just shrugged and said, “No. The other two times I was here it was great.”

“Oh, okay,” she said with a nod.

“The HBO party will be much better,” I tried to reassure her as I poured her some champagne. There wasn’t enough time to get her a gin and tonic from the bar, and the look on her face said that he needed a drink. Stat.

We mingled again after dinner, sipping cocktails and chatting with some executives from the network and a few of my cast members before going to wait for the limo. There were representatives from the different networks directing you where to stand so you got picked up and taken to the correct party. I called the driver to be sure that he was on his way, and after a few minutes we were headed to the Pacific Design Center.

SPOV

We arrived at the PDC around 10:30 p.m. and had to check in before entering the HBO party. I even saw Bryan Cranston, who had just won an Emmy for lead actor in a drama stop there, so apparently everyone had to do it. After Eric checked in for us, we were directed to the left for more pictures and interviews on the floral carpet. I shook my head and let Eric go ahead.

He looked back at me, our arms stretching between us. “No?”

“Nah. Meet me inside.”

“You okay?”

“I’m fine. This is your night. They want pictures of you. I’m going to grab a drink and try to find Holly.”

“Sook, there are two thousand people in there.”

“Oh!” I laughed, remembering . “How bout I meet you right inside?”

“Sounds good.” He smiled and walked off towards the reporters who were lined up waiting. I saw Pam appear out of nowhere, she must have some kind of Eric radar, and I headed towards the party that covered the entire fountain area. It was massive.

Off to my right was a row of fancy portojohns on a trailer and a line of make-up stations sponsored by Laura Mercier and Oscar Blandi. I stepped over to a stylist that had an empty chair, and she freshened up my hair and make-up for me. The girl next to me excitedly told me that we would get a goodie bag of the products when we left the party. It was surreal. This didn’t happen at parties in Chicago.

Feeling like a celebrity myself after the star treatment, I went though the entrance into the official party space. I was offered a bottle of Voss water or a vodka and lemonade. Since I’d already been drinking, I took the cocktail and wandered inside. To the right was an open area with unlabled tables that anyone could sit at and a dance floor. To my left was a larger, covered section that was actually the main area of the party. There were tables with placards for all of the HBO shows, some production companies, and executives with several buffets and bars along the walls. It was all decorated in the jungle-meets-Palm Beach theme I had told Eric about earlier. There were palm trees surrounded by banquettes and bamboo style poles lining the roof of the tent. The table cloths and carpet were patterned with palm fronds and jungle leaves and there were tall white, wicker baskets lining the walls. The lighting and the canopy created a feel of night time in the jungle. It was surreal, but beautiful. I could see people waiting for drinks at bars across the room and a raised area with more tables and what looked like small fire pits that you could sit near. I thought that later, I might have to sit over there with Eric.

I was so distracted taking in the decor and the people, I didn’t even notice that Eric had come up behind me until he startled me by putting his hands on my waist. I laughed and Pam rolled her eyes at me.

“I need a cocktail. Follow me.” Pam walked away, expecting us to follow.

Eric shook his head. “Shall we?” he laughed.

I smiled and nodded. It seemed that the work part of the night was over for Eric, and I was looking forward to spending time with him. We followed Pam through the maze of tables and people to the back of the room. I glanced at the food longingly as we walked by; Wolfgang Puck had catered again. I knew it was better than what we’d eaten earlier, but I kept following Pam and Eric to theBloodlust tables.

We joined Alcide, who carried on about meeting one of the Kardashian’s and I rolled my eyes. From everything Eric had told me, he would only get louder as he drank more alcohol. I saw Holly out of the corner of my eye and stepped aside to say hello. I’m not sure how long we talked, but eventually Eric and Liam brought us back drinks from the bar. The whole night had some how shifted from this really formal awards event to a drunken prom with our friends. The big winners, as well as some of the losers, cutting loose and getting drunk. People were sneaking cigarettes from each other and from fans. It was clear that there were few ‘only-when-I-drink’ smokers amongst the celebrities. It was nice to see that something that was similar to the parties I’d been to back at home.

Some people danced, but the music was kind of a strange jungle beat with a lot of drums, so mostly people clustered around and talked. I was friendly with most of the Bloodlust cast from the set and the premiere party, so I felt much more relaxed than I had at the premiere when Eric got side tracked or pulled off for a picture with someone. The casts of different shows all seemed to congregate in groups, and it was evident throughout the night how well all of Eric’s coworkers got along. At any given time there was a group of cast members, their spouses or significant others, and fans mixed together drinking and talking. People came and went from the groups and others mixed in; it was all very laid back, yet very loud and fun.

I made it through the night without having Liam corner me to do tequila shots, but I saw Eric with him at the bar at one point and knew that he’d gotten suckered into it. They came back over to the group laughing and looking definitely drunk.

I raised an eyebrow at Eric, and then we both started laughing. I took his hand and led him over to the area with the little fire pits. He sat down, and I curled right into his lap. He sighed in my ear and squeezed my waist.

“This is nice.”

“It is. I needed you to myself for a minute.”

“Well, you can always have that. However, you do realize there are still like a thousand people here, right?”

“I do. It’s kind of hard to miss.” I laughed. “But not here. Here it’s just you and me.”

“And Alcide making out with some girl over there.” He angled his head.

“What?” I turned to look, and sure enough Alcide was in the corner shoving his tongue down some girls throat. “Eew. That ruins it!”

Eric chuckled and then gently put his hands on my face, turning me back towards him. “I think he has the right idea,” he whispered before his lips touched mine.

We kissed, and while it was not chaste, I was quite aware of the porn show going on in the corner and had no desire to be the second act. Eric however, was trying to move me around so I would straddle him on the bench we were sitting on. I pulled back and saw confusion in Eric’s lust and alcohol clouded eyes.

I laughed quietly. “Go tell that animal we’re going home, and we can finish this later.”

He shook his head slightly, clearing his thoughts, and I had to smile. He shifted in the seat to grab his phone from his pocket, and we both groaned as I bumped against his obvious arousal. He put one hand in my hair and pulled me forward for a quick, but forceful kiss before operating his phone with the other hand. He had to call Alcide three times before he answered, which was actually pretty good since Eric interrupted him with the woman’s leg hitched up on his hip and his hand on her breast.

“Get your tongue out of her mouth and call for the car.”

Alcide was close enough and loud enough that I could hear him without the phone. “You suck. Give me ten minutes.”

“No. Look over her shoulder, dumb ass.”

“Fuck!” Alcide shouted, then he lowered his voice, and I couldn’ t hear the rest of what he said.

“Thanks. You’re an asshole, too. You’re just lucky Sookie likes you, or I’d get rid of you.”

By then Alcide had moved over near us and he coughed, saying, “Bullshit.” He knew Eric wouldn’t get rid of him. He stood with his arm around the woman he’d been kissing and gave Eric a dirty look. “Why must you ruin my life?”

“I’m your boss, not your father, Alcide. We’re ready to go, so please call for the car.”

He turned to me and whined, “Sookie, why is he talking non-sense?”

I grabbed Eric’s wrist and looked at his watch. “Because it’s twelve-thirty, he’s a little drunk, and I just told him he’d get laid when we got home.”

I felt Eric laughing behind me. Alcide blinked at me a couple of times and then said, “Oh, well, that explains it.”

He pulled out his phone and called for the limo like the last few minutes had never happened.

As he walked away, I heard Alcide tell the woman, “Sorry, my man’s going to get laid. Why don’t you program your number into my phone?”

“Oh shit,” I giggled. “Maybe I shouldn’t have told him that.” I stood and reached down to help Eric.

He took my hand and stood, unfolding his long frame from the low bench, then he put his hand on my hip and pulled my back against his chest.

Leaning down, he whispered in my ear, “No, you shouldn’t have told him, but since you did, I’m going to hold you to it.”

I leaned back and reached behind him, running my hand over his ass. “I don’t see a problem with that.”

00oo00oo00

 

A/N:

I hope you enjoyed their trip to the Emmys and the snippet of Pam and Alcide. They cracked me up in this chapter. Eric and Sookie both have some plans to make, so check back next week to see what they are up to! Thanks again for reading and reviewing!

Okay, I’m just going to say it. We’ve been dancing around it for a few chapters here, but TVgirl is a goddess. That is all. I cannot explain how amazingly cool she has been answering all of my crazy questions and correcting things I assumed (you know how that goes) that I already knew. She pre-read and beta’d and then, to top it all off, she made me a freakin’ diagram of the HBO party cuz I just didn’t get it. I’m not kidding – check it out. It doesn’t feel like enough to just say thanks, but it’s all I’ve got. So, thanks Nic, for everything. You are the skarskissin’ best!

Oh – and they really do handicap the Emmys. Who knew? LOL

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