Leap of Faith|
Chapter 14: The Entrepreneur
Eric and I went to my favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner, then we came back and christened every room in my apartment with sexy memories for the time I would live there alone. I woke in the morning with Eric half on top of me, smashed against the far side of the bed and the wall. I think it was how we had ended up after the last round of sex and neither of us had moved. My bladder was screaming at me, I really needed to pee. Wiggling out of his grasp, he flopped over on his back with a groan, and I scrambled to the bathroom.
He was snoring when I came back into the room, so I packed a few special things from my closet, because I knew that when he asked, I was going to say yes. Among the things that I grabbed were an off-white pencil dress with matching sandals and several sets of matching lingerie, which I put in my garment bag so he wouldn’t see them. I had been quiet, but I was sure he had heard me moving around. It didn’t take much to wake him, but he could to go back to sleep in seconds. It was a new skill for him, seven years ago he would have slept through a nuclear disaster.
I put my bag in the living room and climbed back into bed, straddling Eric’s legs and lying my head on his chest.
“Mmmmm.” His arms wrapped around me. He mumbled into my hair, and I think he said, “Promise me we’ll wake up like this every morning until I leave.”
“You’re not awake yet.” I slid my hand slowly down his stomach and wrapped my fingers around his already hardening shaft. After just a couple of slow strokes he rolled us over and pinned me to the bed.
He rocked his hips against me, rubbing himself along my stomach. “You shouldn’t tease me like that.”
Licking along his neck, I kissed him just below the ear. I whispered, “Who said I was teasing?”
He grabbed my face and kissed me hard while I grabbed his ass and arched against him. Seconds later he was sliding into me and our eyes were locked. Sensuously, and oh so slowly he filled me, my body stretching around him. We held still, gazing at each other, and I tried to etch the moment into my memory.
“How the hell am I going to leave you?”
“You better leave me exhausted. I want you to make me so tired that I won’t have the energy to cry or run after you until you’re long gone.”
“I think I can do that.” He kissed me, saying, “I love you,” against my lips and began moving.
He pulled back, almost all the way out and inched back into me. It was agonizing and amazing. Continuing at that pace, he put his forehead against mine and clenched his jaw tight. I wanted to scream at him to go faster and harder, but I knew I would get that later. He was obviously working at keeping himself under control, so I let him drive me slowly, and completely, mad for release.
We lasted much longer than I expected, and I cried out to god when I felt my body begin to grab onto him, but it was Eric that answered my plea, moving a hand between us to rub my clit. That was all it took to send an orgasm rolling through my body. He kept stroking in and out, but his thrusts became harder, and he was muttering about how close he was. Then I felt him tense, groaning as he came, crushing himself against me. He briefly collapsed on top of me and then pulled us over, so I was back on top. Eric’s hands rubbed lightly over my back while our breathing evened out.
“I think you did it. I couldn’t run after you if I wanted to.”
He laughed, his chest moving and shaking me, as I lay on him. We stayed that way for a while, unspeaking and unwilling to move away from each other. Eventually, he pulled me up and kissed me.
“We need to get moving. Did you finish packing this morning?”
“I did. I need a shower though.”
“Really? I thought we’d just go like this.”
“Alright. Let’s go.” Sitting up and bringing me with him, he untangled himself from me to stand. He helped me up. I giggled and climbed onto his back for a naked piggy back ride before he really knew what I was doing. He shook his head and carried me to the bathroom for round two in the shower.
Hours later, we were rolling down the highway in the Vette. We stopped for lunch and planned to call Cal and Soph to meet for a late dinner when we arrived. He held my hand across the console, and I watched the scenery pass by for a while, before drifting off. When I woke, Eric was listening to Rush and doing air drums while mouthing the words to Tom Sawyer as he drove.
I watched him silently. Moments like this almost made me forget the years that had passed. I was transported back to a time when we never could have imagined everything we had been through.
“Enjoying the view?” His voice brought me out of my memories, and I saw his eyebrow cocked at me.
“I am.” We laughed and drove on, chatting about nothing and everything.
Eventually, he cleared his throat and glanced over at me. “So, I think there’s something I’ve neglected to tell you.”
That was never a good way to start a conversation. My stomach sank. What kind of bomb was he going to drop on me now?
“It’s not bad. Jesus, Sookie.” He chuckled. “It’s just kind of, odd. Where I live, that is.”
“Um. Okay. Where do you live?”
“I live above a bar…that I own.”
He laughed, the look on my face must have been priceless. What was he talking about? He owned a bar? How had he managed to not mention this? When had he bought a bar for Heaven’s sake?
“About three and half years ago my dad launched a campaign to convince me that I shouldn’t sign-up for another four years in the Marines. He gave me the money to open a bar in Jacksonville because he thought it would make me stay.”
“Are you kidding me?” If there was one thing Eric hated, it was interference from his father. Mr. Northman had been an absentee and tended to pick the wrong battles to fight with his son.
He shook his head. “Nope. It worked out pretty well. It gives me somewhere to keep my stuff the whole time I’m deployed, and I don’t have to pay rent or anything. I have a full time manager that takes care of everything. Her name’s Thalia, she’s a widow. Her husband died a few years ago in Iraq. When I’m home I sit down and go over the books with her, and we plan out what projects need to be done the next time I’m gone.”
“So, it’s successful? I mean, you make enough to have someone run it?”
“Yeah. Sookie, it’s a bar owned by an active Marine near the base. It’s successful.”
“What’s it called?”
I nodded, having no idea what that meant, or why he would have chosen it.
He smirked. “Odin was the God of battles or war. He carried a magic spear called Gungnir. It was said to have always hit its mark. It’s a nod to my families’ heritage and my participation the military at the same time.”
“You chose the name to piss of your dad.”
“Yeah, I thought about just buying a Hooters franchise with the money, but this was a riskier investment and more calculated fuck you.”
“Um. Okay. So, is it really loud? I mean do you get any sleep when you stay there?”
“No, it’s fine. The apartment is over the office and backroom areas. It’s not too loud. Parking can be a bitch, but there’s a spot reserved for management, so Thalia usually let’s me use it when I’m around.”
“Where do you usually leave the Vette when you’re gone? Not in the parking lot at the bar?”
“Hell no. Thalia parks it at her house. She drives it occasionally for me to keep it running good.”
“So, what’s it like?” I wanted to keep him talking, while I was still trying to wrap my head around this bar thing. I didn’t care, I mean, I thought it was cool, but it was another sign that there were things we didn’t know about each other anymore. And that’s where I was stuck. I wondered what else I didn’t know.
“It’s a big warehouse of a place. You know, pool tables, darts, live music on Friday and Saturday.”
We became quiet and he exited the highway, maneuvering the city streets of Jacksonville. His cell rang, and he glanced at the caller I.D. before answering. “Cal. Good timing. We’re just getting into Jacksonville. Meet us at my place in an hour?”
Eric laughed at something Cal said, and I blushed as he answered with a wink. “Yeah, we’ll be ready in an hour.”
He reached over and took my hand, bringing it up to kiss the back of it. “I’m excited for you to meet everyone. I hope you don’t mind just sort of jumping into it.”
“No. It’s fine.” I would have liked enough time to take a nap or even shower, but I could live with it.
As if he could read my mind, Eric said, “I know you want a shower, Bird. But I also know if you get naked in that apartment we aren’t leaving it tonight.”
He turned a corner, immediately getting into the left turn lane and waiting at the stoplight. He pointed across the intersection, and I looked up, “Oh, there it is!”
The brick facade looked like a warehouse, and there was a very large pair of wooden doors that looked like they were made out of logs that were tied together with rope. The sign over the door read “Odin’s Spear” in Runic lettering with a picture of a helmet and spear leaning against a shield.
Going to the back of the building, he parked in a reserved spot and grabbed our bags; leading me into the building through a door marked “Private.” We went up the stairs and he unlocked the door to a large loft apartment. I looked around. There were hardwood floors, a kitchen full of stainless steel appliances and the rest was sparsely decorated and open.
He put his hand on my lower back, ushering me inside. I hadn’t realized I was still standing in the doorway. Taking in even more of the apartment, I saw two doors on the far side of the room which I guessed were a bathroom and bedroom. There were high windows around the outside walls, while several fans and shiny silver ventilation ducts crisscrossed the open ceiling.
“I’ll put our stuff in the bedroom.” He opened one of the doors, taking our bags in; and I heard him hang the garment bags on the back of the door, before he came back out.
“Not letting me in the bedroom yet?”
Smiling, he came over and took me in his arms. “Hell, no. I want you too much just standing here.”
“Well, what are you going to do about it?” I don’t know what had gotten into me. Maybe it was because we were running out of time, or because we were in his space, but I was beginning to ache for him.
He growled low in his throat. “We don’t have time for the things I want to do.”
I led him to the couch and pulled him down with me, putting my arms around his neck. “We have a little time.”
And then his mouth was on mine. It was hot and urgent, as I responded with the same intensity. I would have let him ravish me on the couch, but somehow I only ended up with my pants unzipped and my shirt and bra on the floor as we made out like teenagers after the prom.
He was fucking me with his fingers and feasting on my breasts when there was a knock at the door.
“Sonofabitch.” He muttered.
“I told you we should have gotten naked,” I teased.
“You’re not helping.” He kissed me hard on the mouth and stood trying to straighten his hair and clothes before going to the door. I dressed quickly and tried to shake out my hair. Eric looked fine with a little extra pink in his cheeks. I on the other hand, must have looked like I’d recently been fucked on the couch. Realizing there was really nothing I could do about it, I sighed.
He opened the door and was met by Cal and Sophie Anne carrying a covered casserole and several bags of groceries.
“What the hell?” Eric’s back was to me, but I knew his eyebrow was cocked at his friend.
“Don’t ask. Your face is red. Shit. Soph, I told you we should have given them an extra half an hour.” Cal was shaking his head as they came in to set their things down in the kitchen.
I stood at the breakfast bar while Eric said hello to his friends. Soph pulled him into a hug and kissed his cheek. Eric shook hands with Cal and I heard him call Eric, “Thor.” Hmmm. A nickname. I would have to investigate.
Soph walked over to me and took both of my hands. “I’m so happy to finally meet you.” She glanced back at Eric. “I’m not sure if you know what he was like before, it’s only been a week and he seems so…alive. It’s because of you.”
“Um. Thanks. I think maybe he does the same thing for me.”
“Well, that’s a hell of a sign, isn’t it?” She smiled and pulled me into a hug. I had a feeling we were going to get along just fine.
Cal came over to shake my hand. “Nice to meet you. Don’t believe anything my wife says about me and Eric.”
I smiled. “Oh, I’m sure she has some stories to tell.”
“Exactly. And they’re all bullshit. If there isn’t a picture, it didn’t happen.”
Soph slapped his arm. “Well, then I’ll just show her the pictures on my cell phone.”
“Fucking technology.” Cal muttered as he pulled a beer out of the grocery bags.
Eric was laughing at the exchange. He handed a beer to Cal, offered one to Soph and me, then opened one for himself and put the box in the fridge.
“Thanks for the groceries Soph. What’s up with dinner? I thought we’d go out some place.”
She waved her hand at him. “You two have been on the road for two days. I figured you’d want to kick back and relax at home.”
“That does sound good,” I said putting an arm around Eric’s waist. I really did want to take my shoes off and get comfortable.
“See, I knew you’d understand. Would you help me throw together a salad and some garlic bread. The lasagna will stay hot.”
Soph and I worked together easily in the kitchen, getting dinner ready and putting away the other groceries they brought. Eric and Cal sat in the living room area talking and flipping channels on the television.
“I’m really glad that you were in Bon Temps last week. Eric really needed to get things decided with you one way or another,” Soph said to me.
“It’s funny you put it that way, I pretty much thought it was decided.”
“Well, I think he thought that too for a long time. But the truth is, he never got over leaving you.”
Should I ask? Was it too soon? Oh hell, she started this conversation. “What about Hadley?”
She glanced at me while she buttered the bread, “She was in love with him. He loved her, but was he in love with her? I never really thought he was, and now, just twenty minutes of seeing him with you. I know he wasn’t in love with her.”
I wasn’t sure what she was seeing that was different, so I just smiled.
“He keeps glancing at you, kind of over his shoulder, while he and Cal are in there talking. And I can see it in his eyes when he listens to you talk, it’s like we’re not even here. All he see’s is you.”
Looking over at the couch, I caught Eric’s eyes on me. He grinned, but never stopped talking to Cal.
“That’s what I’m talking about,” she said with a laugh, snapping me with the towel she was wiping her hands with. “Have you two talked about the future?”
I laughed. Oddly, the question didn’t seem presumptuous or rude coming from her. From everything Eric had told me, and from our brief acquaintance, I knew that she was checking up on him, making sure that he had done what she thought was necessary.
“We have.” I was teasing, making her suffer a little. I felt really comfortable with her. It was easy to see why Eric was so close to her.
Her eyes were wide and questioning and she made a ‘come on’ motion with her hand.
I laughed at her reaction. “He proposed to propose.”
“Really? But he didn’t propose?”
“Um, no. We were in the bathroom, it wasn’t a good time.”
“Oh, my God.” She giggled. “You are going to have to tell me all about that later.” She glanced over her shoulder and called out, “Who’s hungry?”
We gathered at the table and enjoyed Soph’s home cooked dinner. They were great people and I could see that Eric really was like family to them. I was accepted with open arms and everyone made sure that they didn’t spend too much time talking about the last seven years. They let Eric and I tell some stories from High School and Tulane as well, loving that they had new things to tease Eric about.
I asked Cal about calling Eric, ‘Thor.’ They all laughed but Eric looked a little embarrassed.
“No one in real life calls me that.”
“I’m sorry, do you have a life we don’t know about?” Soph teased. “What he means is that only the guys call him that. They give each other nicknames based on where they’re from or how they look or something. They decided Eric was a viking God, like he needed the ego boost.”
That made me laugh. “I know, right?”
“Hey, I’m sitting right here.” Eric huffed.
“I know, I’m sorry. We’re not making fun of you. What do the guys call you Cal?” At that, Eric and Sophie were laughing hysterically.
Cal gave them dirty looks. “They call me ‘Wolfman’.”
Through his laughter, Eric said, “Because he gets crazy when there’s a full moon.”
Soph sputtered, “During a full moon? He does crazy shit all the time!”
Cal remained serious. “I don’t really give a rats ass what anyone thinks of me, so I tend to do things that other people might not.”
“Well, as long as you don’t shape shift or anything…” I teased.
We all had a good laugh and then continued eating. The conversation came around to Twinings’ wedding and the upcoming party/reception on Tuesday. Cal and Soph told us about the civil ceremony that they had attended on Friday at the Court House. Cal teased Eric that he’d gone out of town purposely to avoid the wedding. Apparently the plans for the party were all set. Twinings’ wife, Jessica, had pretty much planned on getting married while Charles was home on leave, so she had only needed to make a few phone calls to get the ball rolling.
Eric was quite pleased that all he had to do was show up for the party. I offered to help with setting up, or whatever was needed, and Cal said I just needed to go to the liquor store with Eric. Soph laughed and said she’d let me know if there was anything I could do.
The guys cleaned up the table and did the dishes, while we sat and chatted. Soph and I exchanged cell phone numbers and they headed home, both saying they would talk to us later. It felt good to know that I had at least two friends in Eric’s new life.
Eric had his arm around me and when the door closed he pulled me into a hug. He exhaled and I knew he was tired too.
“Tired?” I asked as he rubbed the top of my head with his chin.
I laughed. I was exhausted.
He rubbed my back. “Can we go to bed?”
“I thought you’d never ask.”
We brushed our teeth and got ready for bed. After washing my face, I came out of the bathroom in my ice blue lingerie; Eric was in bed and snoring. Shaking my head, I climbed in and snuggled next to him. I was asleep almost as soon as my head met the mattress.
*Okay – so I am aware that “book” Calvin Norris is a Werepanther – not a Werewolf. I just went with the Were/full moon connotation with him. Sorry if it confused you.*
Note: Information about Odin