As usual, big thanks to A Redhead Thing and Sapfirerose. Writing two stories at once has been kicking my ass, and these two are my super-cheerleading Wondertriplets that keep me motivated. Thanks ladies. Here’s to you! (Lifts a Michigan beer in your honor!)
OH – two nights ago some of my fabulous writer friends posted some fics for my birthday! (It was last week, but with the release of Lover Mine and DITF we were all a little busy!) Stories have been posted by Seastarr08, evenflo78, A-Redhead-Thing, educatedguess, SweetSookie, and ohfortuneslost, greenlemons. *OH – when you view the community it looks empty, but it’s an illusion. LOL Sort for fics rated M/or All Ratings and they all show up! Here’s the link to the community.
Thanks so much for reading and reviewing! The kids are getting ready to head home…and Pam is getting ready to make her ‘announcement.’ Let’s join them, shall we?
We checked out and had lunch about an hour south of Traverse City and it was a bit of a wake up call. Heads turned when we entered the door, and there was a low murmur in the restaurant. It was like the universe knew we were coming home and people could start to interfere with us again. I signed autographs while we waited for our food, and took pictures with a couple of women that could have been my mother. Sookie sat patiently, taking it all in without a word.
Pam called when we were almost to Saugatuck. She had made our hotel reservations, so she knew we would be on our way back. Sookie was driving, so I answered, and put my hand over hers on the console.
“Northman. I hope you had a nice time up north. Are you ready to return to the limelight?”
“Sure, Pam. Whatever that means.”
“It means, I confirmed to the press today that you are indeed dating Ms. Stackhouse. You are very happy and value your privacy, blah, blah, blah. So be prepared for more paparazzi, that is, if they feel like driving all the way there. But I’m sure some enterprising individuals will sell their pictures, whether the true paparazzi find you or not.”
“It’s alright. We don’t have big plans. My brothers will be here in a few days. Did you get us Cubs tickets?”
“I did, you can pick them up at will-call. By the way, I’m hearing some strange things about Sophie Anne.”
“Really? We haven’t talked; we’ve just been playing phone tag.”
“Well, don’t call her for a couple of days; something is brewing. I don’t know what’s going on with her and that freak ex-boyfriend, but you don’t need to be involved.”
“Fine, whatever. I’ll talk to you soon.” I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about, but I figured whatever was going on with Sophie Anne would play itself out with or without me. I was enjoying my time with Sookie way too much to really worry about her anyway.
I hung up and glanced at Sookie. She looked very Hollywood, with big black glasses dwarfing her face and her blond hair blowing, as we drove down the highway. “Who was it? Pam?”
“Yes. She talked to the press this morning, so be prepared for your phone to start ringing.”
“Oh, hell.” She giggled. “Maybe I’ll just turn it off.”
“I thought about that too.”
We drove on, quietly. I was still amazed at how comfortable we were together. Being with Sookie felt natural, nothing was forced. There was something about her that put me at ease.
After a few minutes, she looked over at me, biting her lip. She was driving, so I couldn’t lean over and kiss her the way I wanted to. That lip biting thing she did was so sexy.
She sighed. “Can we go back to my place?”
I panicked for a moment, before I realized that she had said we. “Sure. What’s going on?”
“I. Well, I should probably get used to staying there. You know? And, it would be easier with you there.” I could tell she was almost embarrassed to say the last part, but it was endearing, and I knew it was true as well.
“Hey. It’s fine. I kind of like being your security blanket. I’ll run to the beach house in the morning and grab a few things.”
“Do you have work to do?”
“Yes.” I glanced back at her. “But it’s just going over lines. I need to read through the whole episode again and then start learning my parts. You could help me.”
“What?” She laughed.
“You can read some of the other parts. You know, like the Queen and Roxie, that human girl that I have the love/hate thing with.”
“Oh, yeah. I don’t know how Roxie stayed with that other vamp after she met you. Just tell me what to do, and I’ll help.”
We finished the drive, and I helped Sookie carry her things into the house. She wandered to the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge.
She made a noise as she looked at the empty shelves. “I need groceries.”
“Make me a list and I’ll get them in the morning.” She looked at me like I was crazy.
“Are you serious? After we moved in together, I don’t think Bill ever got more than beer at the grocery store. And, I mean, do you grocery shop at home? Doesn’t Alcide or someone do it for you?”
“Do you really think I have someone shop for me? Do I give you that impression?”
“No, you don’t. It just surprised me that you offered.” She put her arms around my waist. “I didn’t mean to upset you. I don’t think I’m used to anyone taking care of me.”
I sighed. “I’ve been doing it for a week. You’re just noticing?”
“No. You’ve been doing a good job.” She laughed, and seemed to clear her head. “Okay, I’ll make you a list. In the meantime, pizza for dinner?”
“Yeah. I’ll go to the gym in the morning too.”
We ate pizza and watched a movie on HBO, both tired from the drive. I was wondering what people thought about Pam’s announcement today, but I didn’t have the energy to fire up the laptop, and I didn’t want to let go of the woman that was snuggling against me on the couch. Eventually, she rolled over and we began to kiss, making out on the couch with the flicker of the TV in the background, then we moved to the bedroom and made love.
It was so much better than having sex, and I was still reeling from that revelation. The first time we were together, it was sweet and romantic, almost worshipful, and it was fuckhot. Now I knew that everything, sexually speaking, was better with her. She did this little gasping, “Ahhh,” thing, closing her eyes and biting her bottom lip just before she came, and it drove me mad. And her body! Jesus, we fit together perfectly, it was amazing. When I was inside of her, God it was intense, just thinking about it made me hard every time.
It was the thoughts like that, that scared the hell out of me. I was supposed to feel like that about someone I was in love with, someone I was going to marry. As I held Sookie, listening to her breathe, I tried to imagine us married, growing old, and the scariest thing, was that I could totally see it.
The sun was shining through her bedroom window when I woke up, and I was alone in the bed. I stretched, inhaling the rich smell of coffee. I wandered to the kitchen in my underwear. She was sitting at the table, holding a mug with both hands, reading something on her laptop. She looked up with a shy smile when she heard me coming into the room.
“Morning.” My voice was rough, I wasn’t really awake, but the bed was too big without her.
“Hi. Did you sleep okay?”
I poured a cup of coffee and walked behind her to take a seat, kissing the top of her head before I sat down. “I did, until I woke up alone.”
She blushed. “Um, yeah. So, I’m reading my blog. It’s good. I mean, I looked at it before with Amelia, but I’m looking at some of the older entries, like the one for Rose Angelis.”
“They are good,” I said, sipping my coffee. “You have a way with words, Sookie.”
She was always thanking me. I wondered if it was a habit, because Bill expected her appreciation all of the time, or if she truly wasn’t used to having someone care about her and take care of her.
“Let me get you something to eat.” She stood up and I joined her at the counter, making toast with peanut butter since we needed groceries. We ate, and talked about our plans for the day. We figured I would be home in time for lunch, so after waiting for her to make the list, and arguing that she didn’t need to do my laundry. I gave her a toe curling kiss and headed out.
I didn’t mind going to the store, honestly, but my ulterior motive was to let the press attack me on my own first. Since Pam made the announcement yesterday, there was bound to be paparazzi at my place, and they would pounce at the local store. I knew Pam didn’t think there would be a problem here in Michigan, but I had a bad feeling. I went straight to the gym; I had a months pass. I did some circuit training and ran on the treadmill, trying to clear my head.
I drove to the beach house, and sure enough, when I turned onto my road, there were five guys standing near the mailbox smoking cigarettes. I sighed, and considered telling them not to litter. The cameras flashed, and they yelled their questions as I drove by. I walked across the bridge without looking or turning around, only giving them pictures of my back.
When I got inside, I broke down and called Pam; she was always up before the sun anyway. I had been too tired to think about looking at the internet the night before to see the reaction to our announcement. I didn’t usually care what people were saying about me, but this time I was concerned about what they were saying about Sookie.
She answered with her normal one word salutation, “Ravenscroft.”
“Northman, here.” I imitated her. “How are things?”
“Oh, Jesus. You’re worrying like a little school girl aren’t you? That’s my job. Well, the school girl part.” I could almost see the smirk on her face. “It’s fine. Mostly positive comments about you and your little girlfriend. A few jealous fan-girls, but I expected nothing less. Mostly they are happy for you and excited that you found someone that is; A) not from Hollywood and B) not a stick figure or a bobble-head.”
“That’s good, right?”
“Yes. What the fuck has gotten into you? You’re never unsure of yourself.”
I sighed. “I’m not unsure of myself. I just don’t want her to get bad press or get attacked by vicious fan-girls.”
“Well, that’s unavoidable big boy. You should have thought about that before you dragged her to your house like a fucking caveman.”
“I don’t regret it Pam. What you told the press, it’s not a line. We’re together.”
“I’m sorry, I thought I heard you speaking in tongues.”
“Why is it okay if it’s a fake relationship, but not if it’s real?”
“Because if it was fake I already had your damn break-up scripted.”
“Jesus, Pam. You’re such a bitch.”
“And you pay me to be a big one.” I heard her honk the horn and complain about the traffic. “Listen, you know me, I’ll roll with the punches and deal with whatever you throw at me. Just be careful with this. You can’t relocate to Michigan and have an acting career, okay?”
“I’m aware of that Pam. We’ll deal with it, somehow.”
“Fine. I’m not commenting on anything else about you or her, other than asking the press to give you privacy. They know you met through her blog, and the hits on that are going to go through the roof. She might want to post an update, by the way, it’s been a few weeks since she added anything.”
“She knows, and by the way, when did you start reading her blog? Anyway, we took some pictures at restaurants while we were up north, and she jotted down some ideas.”
“I have to read her blog, now that she’s part of this subterfuge.”
“Listen. I have work to do, you know, managing your career?” She took on a friendlier tone. “Relax, Eric. Things are fine. I’ll call you later if there’s anything you need to know.”
I sighed. “Alright. Thanks, Pam.”
“You’re welcome. Oh, and I’m getting some events set up for when you get home. Some parties and what-not to attend. I’ll email you a schedule.”
“Just keep the weekend of the Fourth of July open.”
“I’m not even going to ask. Goodbye.”
Doing a quick sweep of the house, I threw some clothes in a bag and grabbed my Bloodlust script. I didn’t need much; no matter what I had said, Sookie insisted on doing my laundry. I grabbed some Gatorade and headed out.
A caravan of three cars followed me, and I was glad that I had come by myself, and especially glad that I hadn’t sent Sookie to the store. I kept my sunglasses on as I briskly walked through the parking lot, but I knew leaving the store would be worse because they would have time to set up.
Pulling out the list Sookie had written, I walked the aisles and loaded the cart. I added a couple of things for myself, like pretzels and Snapple. I was impressed to find some Greek yogurt, so I got some of that, and I threw crackers and hummus in the buggy for good measure. A few heads turned in the store, but no one got crazy, well except for the cashier, who was all of about seventeen. She had a slight southern accent, Texas if I had to guess, and her hands shook as she rang up my purchases. She was sweet, with a shy smile, and a studious look about her.
As she scanned my items, I nodded at her I.D. badge, “Missie, right?” I autographed a sales flier, making it out to her. She turned beet red when I handed it to her, thanking me repeatedly, telling me how much she lovedBloodlust, and that she had attended a movie premiere I was at in Austin before she moved to Michigan. I let her take a self-portrait of us on her cell phone, and headed out.
I exhaled and headed for the parking lot. I knew the paparazzi would still be out there, and I bent my head like I was walking into the wind, pushing the cart ahead of me. As I loaded the car, they stayed across the row from me, keeping a decent distance, and I wondered who these tools were that had stayed in Michigan after the festival to try to get my pictures, instead of going back to California. Maybe they were local freelance photographers, it was hard to say, but they hurled questions at me with total disregard for my privacy. They were probably from Cali. I put the cart in the corral and headed back to Sookie’s, with the convoy of photographers behind me.
My cell rang about an hour after Eric left. Caller I.D. said it was Lafayette, and I knew why he was calling. I was kind of shocked that Amelia hadn’t burst through my backdoor already too.
“Thaz all you have to say to me?”
I laughed. “Um, no. I guess you heard the announcement.”
“Heard the announcement? Girl, I been tellin’ ev’ryone I know that my girl Sookie is givin’ that vampire a taste of her!”
“Lafayette! You wouldn’t!” I laughed.
We were still talking when Eric walked in. Lafayette had been reading to me, and commenting as only he could, on the internet posts about Eric’s press statement. I had a feeling he skipped over some posts that weren’t so nice to me but he had me in stitches.
I finished the call, and helped Eric put away the groceries, telling him some of the comments on the internet. We made sandwiches and sat in the living room to eat. When we were done, Eric suggested we look through the chest of drawers near the front window to see what I remembered. I really appreciated it; everything was so much easier when he was with me.
Item by item, we went through the contents. Among other things, there were souvenir decks of cards from family vacations, cribbage boards, drink coasters, blankets, photo albums, and books. I remembered a few things, but what I didn’t, Eric had decided to make up stories about. He explained that the ugly crocheted afghan had been made by a great aunt. We were laughing, and flipping through a photo album. The pictures were great reminders, but there were still some things I didn’t recognize.
Eric was spinning a tale about my senior prom, since all I could remember from the picture was that my date’s name was John Quinn, and I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe when Amelia finally showed up.
“Hello, there!” She called looking through the screen door at us.
We must have been a sight, odds and ends spread out around us, sitting on the floor, laughing.
“Hey, Meelz! Come on in. Where’s Tray?”
“He went to Grand Rapids to pick up a part from some guy.” She waved her hand. “Whatever. He’ll be back later. What’s up with you kids? Big news, eh?” She grinned.
“Well, it wasn’t really news to us.” Eric chimed in.
“Not to me either, Romeo. How are your fans taking it?”
He shrugged, like he didn’t care, but I knew he did. It would have bothered him if people were upset, but I’m not sure what he would have done about it. “I’m sure there are some disgruntled women.”
“Disgruntled?” I snorted. “Some of your stalkers are downright livid.” I regretted it as soon as I said it. The look on his face, it was like I’d staked him in the heart. “Hey,” I reached out and put my hand on his, “It’s nothing.”
Amelia’s eyes moved back and forth between us, and I knew that that she saw right through me. She knew that Eric and I were sleeping together, that I had fallen for him, and that his celebrity terrified me. I looked back at her, and she nodded, almost imperceptibly. She knew to keep her mouth shut in front of Eric, that these were things she and I would discuss when we were alone, and had a drink in our hands.
“So, what exactly are you two doing?” She smiled, changing the subject.
“Jogging her memory.”
“Well, trying to.” I added.
“Is it working?”
He smiled, and I said, “Sort of.”
“Well, alrighty then. You guys staying here for a few days?”
“I think so. I need to get used to this place.”
“My brothers will be here Thursday. We’re all going to a Cubs game on Friday. You and Tray want to come?”
“Oh! We’d love to! Yum, Chicago dogs. I’ll be sure to tell Tray so he doesn’t schedule any big repairs for Friday. He likes to be the boss.”
I giggled, totally picking up the innuendo. “So. Did you come to say hi, or did you need something? I mean, ‘hi’ is great, but what’s up?”
“Actually, I came to see if I could steal you for a while tomorrow. I was going to go over to the mall, and you know how I always need a second opinion on things.”
I looked at her blankly; I didn’t remember that at all. How could I remember that she was my best friend and know that she could read me like a book, understanding what I felt about Eric without a word, but I couldn’t remember that?
“Anyway,” she continued. “I was waiting for you to get up here to buy some new summer clothes.”
“Um. Yeah, that sounds good.” I glanced at Eric. “We didn’t have any plans. Eric was going to start going over his script, so I’d love to come.”
“Great, so I’ll just come over in the morning?”
“Cool. You kids have fun. Eric, see you later. ”
He called out good-bye and caught my eye. “You okay?”
I nodded. “Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?”
“Okay.” I sighed. “So it bothers me that I don’t remember that she needs a second opinion when she shops. I should know that.” It came out sounding like a whine.
“It’s not a big deal. You remember that she’s your best friend, right? Isn’t that the important thing?”
“I guess so.” It really wasn’t a big deal, it was just one more little thing, and I wanted to remember it.
“Come here.” He patted his lap. “Let me tell you about the tea set on the shelf over there. Your Gran bought it on a trip to England.”
“She did?” I giggled, and moved over to sit inside the circle of his arms. Bless him, for pulling me out of my self-pity.
“Of course.” He rubbed my back. “Unless you think she got it somewhere else?”
“No, I think you’re right. What did my Gran do in England?”
I had no idea where the teapot had come from. I laid my head on his shoulder, listening to him tell a story about my grandmother and a tea vendor named Thomas who sold her a Wedgwood teapot.