Leap of Faith
Chapter 13: Not in the Bathroom
The next couple of days passed in what seemed like the blink of an eye. We were packing our things for the drive to North Carolina and it didn’t seem possible that Eric wouldn’t be back in Gran’s house for a year. I was trying to pack light. There wasn’t a lot of room for luggage in the Vette and I was only going to be gone for a week. We had decided that we would stop in Atlanta at my place on the way to North Carolina and then I would drive his car back here. I still couldn’t believe he was going to let me drive it and then store the car for him while he was gone.
I went into the bathroom to start loading up my cosmetics and toiletries. Eric found me a little while later sitting on the edge of the tub crying. “Bird, what’s going on?”
“I. You. Oh, God, it’s stupid.” I shook my head.
“What is it?” He sat on the floor in front of me, his knees sticking up like a crazy pretzel.
I waved my hand at the counter. “Your things are gone. I came in here to get my stuff and yours was already gone.” I shrugged. “It’s stupid. You only stayed here like four days. It just made me sad.”
“I can leave it here if you want.”
God he was sweet. “You don’t need to do that. It’s, I mean, sorry, I’m such a spaz. It’s just not enough time.”
“You’re not a spaz. And you’re right. It’s not enough time.” He smiled, but it was sad. “Sook, there’s something that I’ve been meaning to talk to you about, but it hasn’t been the right time. I didn’t want to talk about it in bed or anything, and this is almost worse, but I need to talk to you about when I leave.”
“Okay.” I wasn’t really sure I wanted to have a serious conversation here in the bathroom, but if he was ready to talk about whatever it was, then I wasn’t going to stop him to change rooms.
“There’s something you need to know how the Marines work when I’m gone. If I had to leave tomorrow, no, don’t panic.” Hearing my breath hitch and seeing my eyes get wide; he took my hands making me focus on him, not my crazy thoughts. “If I left tomorrow, which I’m not, the only person that would get updates about me is my immediate family. The way things are right now, that would be my parents, or really Pam, since she’s the only one in the states. Do you understand?”
“I think so. But can we add me as an emergency contact or something? What if they can’t find Pam?”
He closed his eyes and squeezed my hands. “They can find anyone. The thing is Sookie, it doesn’t work that way. I can’t just add you to a list somewhere. You have to be my family.”
“Eric.” I had a feeling that I knew where he was going with this. I couldn’t deny that I had thought about it. But that was it. I’d had a fleeting thought that I hoped we would get married; maybe before he left or as soon as he got home. But having a thought and having the actual conversation, two totally different things. I was trying not to hyperventilate.
“Hear me out. If something happened to me they would come and tell Pam. I don’t want any of you to get that call, visit, or whatever. What I do want, is for everyone to know that what I have is yours. I don’t want any question about where it should go.”
“Eric stop.” I was breathing now, but I was crying again.
“Hey, I’m careful.” He said touching my cheek. “I take good care of myself and I have a whole group of guys that look out for me. But what I do is dangerous. I don’t want to lie to you and pretend it’s not. That’s not fair to you. I will do everything I can to come home to you, but Sookie, I want you to be the one that’s listed as my immediate family.”
Holy shit. “Eric, are you asking me to marry you while we’re sitting in the bathroom?”
“No. I am not nearly that stupid. I’m telling you that I want you to be my family and I’m praying that you want the same thing. If you say that you do, then you can expect me to propose soon.”
“Like with a ring?”
“With a ring. And not in the bathroom.”
I wanted to scream, “Yes!” and throw my arms around him, this was the moment that I had dreamed of, well, not exactly, but it was would have the same outcome. But I was terrified to even consider it. Somewhere in my head I thought that if we didn’t get married now he had to come home to me. Another part of my brain shouted, “This may be your only chance!”
“Eric. It’s just happening so fast. I’m a little scared.”
Sitting up straighter, he looked me in the eye. “I’m scared too Sookie, but I’m in love with you. I always have been.” He tucked some hair behind my ear. “When I realized that you still loved me too, I knew what I wanted for us, for our future. I want you to be my family and I want everyone to know it. You are my life. We don’t have much time together right now, but we will, I promise.”
Suddenly, listening to him, it was obvious that he needed me as much as I needed him. We had both been just drifting through life without each other. He was my anchor. I couldn’t say anything, if I opened my mouth I would start to sob. I loved him so much. If I was his life, he was my soul.
My eyes were filling with tears. He misunderstood my reaction and tried to back peddle. “You don’t have to say anything. Just think about it. Bring your social security card or your passport with us and that’s all we need if you decide you’re ready. We’ll do whatever you want. I just don’t want to fuck this up.”
I crawled into his lap. “You’re not fucking it up.” Taking his face in my hands I moved so my lips were just grazing his. “Please ask me to be your immediate family. But don’t do it here, or on the porch swing, okay?”
He nodded, his eyes on mine, and kissed me. It was sweet and warm, just perfect. Holding each other, we sat quietly, lost in our own thoughts. After a few minutes he whispered, “Can we get out of the bathroom?”
Slapping his back I laughed. “You can go. I have to pack up my stuff.” I wiped my eyes knowing that it wouldn’t be the end of my crying over his departure.
“Are you okay?”
I nodded and put my forehead on his. “I’ll be fine.”
“You know this is hard for me too, right? I wish I didn’t have to go.”
“I know. But you do. And we’ll get through it.” I bit my lip. “I love you.”
“I love you too.” He exhaled and then stood, helping me up. Checking his watch, he smiled. “Your brother will be here in half an hour. Will you be ready to go after we eat?”
“I’ll be ready.”
He went back into the living room, where I think he was watching television, since he didn’t have much to pack. I stretched and sighed. I needed a cocktail. Sweet Shepherd of Judea. Did we just really have that conversation? In the bathroom? Christ. I hurried grabbing my essentials so I could get back to clothes packing. I had to figure out what to wear for a wedding, my own wedding no less. Oooh – and a wedding night. It was a good thing we were stopping at my place in Atlanta. I’d be able to grab some more appropriate outfits, shoes, and lingerie. Yeah. It was really a good thing we were stopping at my apartment.
I was carrying my bags into the living room when Jason arrived with coffee and cinnamon rolls from the bakery in town.
“Damn. Ya’ll don’t know what it took for me to get up this early. I met this girl last night in Monroe. Who-eee! Let’s just say I didn’t get much sleep.”
Eric was cringing, expecting more details. Thankfully my brother shoved a cinnamon roll in his mouth and didn’t’ tell us anything else about his exploits. We sat in the kitchen, eating and talking quietly. I had been surprised when Eric said we needed to say good-bye to my brother, but I shouldn’t have been. Eric had played basketball with they guys the day before and was really making an effort to reconnect with people that he had pretty much ignored for seven years because they reminded him of me.
I got the impression that having Jason over this morning was a changing of the guard of sorts; that Eric was telling Jason he trusted him to take care of me while he was deployed. It was a strange dance that these men did without saying the actual words and I wondered if my brother even spoke the same language as Eric. Smiling at their interaction, I knew that it was really unnecessary, and I think Eric did too, but he felt the need to go through the motions and it was touching.
Jason headed home, presumably to go back to bed, and we loaded the car. Eric dangled the keys at me and I looked at him, confused.
“Is this my road test? To see if you approve of the way I drive the Vette?”
“Funny. No. This is because I know you’ll get tired before I will, and you’ll pout if I don’t let you do part of the driving. So you might as well drive first.”
“Oh. Um, okay. If I drive I’m in charge of the radio, right?”
I woke a few hours later to the sounds of Sookie singing along to the White Stripes. “No you don’t know what love is, you just do as you’re told.”
Out of the corner of my eye I could see that she was wiggling in her seat and singing, one hand on the wheel and the other waving around a bottle of Diet Coke. I turned my head to look out the window so she couldn’t see my eyes and let her enjoy herself. I watched the road signs to judge where we were and the song switched over the Cage the Elephant’s Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked. Sookie had crazy taste in music. I knew if I listened long enough a show tune would pop up on her playlist and I was sure that there was country and techno in the mix as well.
Before I joined the Marines I had really been into music and I bought the CD’s from my favorite bands as soon as they were available. But over the years, things had changed. While I was deployed I never knew what albums were coming out or what was popular at home. We had a radio station that played for the troops if you were stationed anywhere near the large staging areas, but for the most part the Recon teams were off on our own.
Now I was always behind on current music and movies and completely unaware of pop culture gossip when I came home. It didn’t bother me that I got behind on that shit, but it could make you feel like an idiot when people were quoting movies or talking about things that were complete news to you. Shit, people didn’t even buy CD’s or rent movies anymore, they downloaded them, and all of that had changed while I was away. In terms of the music I listened to these days, I had pretty much reverted to listening to classic rock and my old stand-bys, like Metallica, Pearl Jam and Sound Garden.
Sookie tossed her empty soda bottle on the floor by my feet and I heard it roll against another one. I smiled to myself. She was going to have to go to the bathroom shortly, unless her bladder had grown in the last seven years. I rubbed my hands over my face and turned to look at her. She smiled and reached to turn down the radio.
“Hey. Did you sleep well?”
“I’m going to stop at the next exit to get gas and use the restroom.”
“I figured as much,” I said picking up the empties from the floor.
“Oh, yeah. Busted.”
She had driven about four hours and I was impressed. Stopping for gas and a bite to eat, we stretched and walked around for a bit before getting back on the road. We had changed places at the gas station so that I could drive. I was biding my time, waiting for her to fall asleep, before I let my lead foot take over. Sookie drove about ten miles over the speed limit and I was more of a twenty over on the highway kind of guy. I had always liked to drive fast and the Vette just made me itch to see the scenery flashing by as I sped down the road.
Sookie fell asleep and I let the car do its thing. She slept almost fitfully, turning from side to side, and I had to laugh, I knew what the problem was. She slept an hour or so at a time, waking to talk to me for a few minutes in between, making sure I was still okay to drive. It was sweet. She had no idea that I could stay awake for several days at a time if need be.
After after another bout of wiggling around she turned to me, “Do you have any idea how uncomfortable this car is for a long ride?”
“Yeah, it wasn’t made for road trips.” I laughed. “This is actually much more comfortable than what I normally ride around in.”
I glanced at her, raising an eyebrow. “A dusty Humvee stripped down to bare bones full of sweaty men with chewing tobacco and cursing.”
“Oh, yeah, that doesn’t sound comfortable, or even pleasant.”
She looked around. “Oh wow. We’re getting close to Atlanta.”
“Yeah. I was going to wake you up in a minute.”
She stretched, arching her back, smiled at me.
“I’m excited for you to see my place. And I’m hungry.”
“We’ll be there in what, forty minutes? Can’t you wait to eat then?”
She unhooked her seat-belt and turned towards me. “Why? When what I’m hungry for is right here in the car with me?”
“Sookie.” Was she seriously talking about giving me road head? I was falling more in love with this girl every second.
“What?” She batted her eyelashes and tried to act coy as she reached for the button on my jeans.
“Jesus. You just woke up. Are you kidding me?” I was getting hard just thinking about what she was going to do.
She had my fly open and paused, looking over at me. “I had a good dream. Are you kidding me, you don’t want this?”
“Oh, I want.”
“Then shut up and drive.”
She reached into my boxer briefs and freed my erection. My left hand tightened on the wheel and I moved my other hand to the passenger seat headrest as she took me into her mouth.
“Fuck me.” I muttered. How the fuck was I supposed to watch the road?
“Later,” she said between licks over the top of my head. Her head moved up and down in my lap, making love to me with her hot wet mouth. She slid her lips down my shaft and I felt my dick hit the back of her throat and she didn’t seem to care. Her cheeks sucked in and she moved back to the top, circling me with her tongue. I wasn’t going to last much longer. This was insane. She was giving me the best blow job of my life as we flew down the highway. When she scraped lightly over my skin with her teeth my hips bucked towards her and she giggled, which completely did me in. I came with a groan, forcing myself to keep my eyes open and the car in my lane.
I was startled by the sound of a semi’s horn. I glanced over and saw a big rig keeping pace with us. Sookie knocked her head on the steering wheel and I burst out laughing. It wouldn’t have been nearly as funny if I hadn’t just gotten off. She was blushing, but wiped her face, and then waved at the truck driver. I grabbed the back of her neck and pulled her over for a quick kiss. She tucked me in, zipped up my pants and then sat back in her seat, straightening her clothes and fastening her seat-belt.
I grabbed her hand and smiled. “Sookie, that was…”
“Amazing?” She grinned devilishly. “Apparently I’m a superstar. Our friend the trucker would probably agree.”
Waggling my eyebrows at her I laughed. “I believe he would.”
She gave me directions to her apartment and we wound through the city. Her apartment was of course on Peach Blossom Lane. Every other street name in Atlanta somehow involved Peaches. She lived in a giant high rise building which seemed so unlike her. We grabbed our bags and she led me through the atrium, stopping to get her mail, then over to an elevator.
We walked down the hall to her apartment. Stepping in, I felt like I had gone back in time. I stood there for a minute in the doorway and she looked back at me.
“Oh, yeah, I still have some of your living room furniture. It was too expensive to get rid of.”
Sookie and her roommate didn’t have much furniture when they moved out of the dorms at Tulane so I had given them some of mine. My parents hadn’t been to visit in almost a year so I made them feel guilty and told them I needed a new living room set. They had me to order it and sent me a new TV the following week. I gave the girls my old television and let Sookie take what furniture she wanted to outfit their new place.
“I just didn’t expect that you’d still have it.” She couldn’t sit on the porch swing but she had my old couch. Talk about a contradiction.
“Your parents bought quality furniture.” She tried to laugh but gave up and looked sad. “I think it would have been worse if it had been from your apartment, but I just kept reminding myself that it was mine. Everything else was so hard I just kind of gave up when it came to this stuff.” She shrugged and moved down the hall. “Let me put this stuff down. Want to go get something to eat?”
I wanted to take her into her bedroom and fuck her senseless. It’s all I had been thinking about since she’d given me head in the car.
She came back down the hall and read the look on my face. “It’s getting late. Food first, then fuck. Okay?”
Oh my God. Grown up Sookie was a vixen. How had I failed to recognize that over the last week? If she hadn’t blindsided me with her dirty talk I would have stopped her and taken her right then and there against the wall or something, but she got past me while I was still in a lusty haze and had the front door open.
“There’s a great Mexican place around the corner.” She was looking back at me over her shoulder. When my eyes finally moved up her body to her face, she was laughing at me. Fuck. I didn’t care what kind of food we had as long as the restaurant served drinks. If I wasn’t going to be buried inside of her then I was seriously in need of a beer.