Leap of Faith
Chapter 18: Time Flies
Based on feedback when this posted on FFnet – I want get everyone on the same page. This chapter is mostly happy with a little sad. The next chapter is the big one. I am telling you now because neither of my betas or myself have been able to read it without crying, even after multiple reads. So prepare yourself. He’s really deploying. I will also be upfront with you that there will be HEA (happily ever after), so don’t go panicking that Eric is going to die. He will be fine.
The day after the wedding, Eric had gone on base and completed the necessary paperwork to document our marriage. He’d come home and sat me down in the living room with a fireproof box, going over his important documents; papers for the bar, the Vette, bank and investment statements, and the pièce des résistance, his will and D.N.R. forms stating that if it ever became necessary, he didn’t want to be placed on life support. I had ended up a blubbering mess, hiccuping and sobbing, getting snot all over Eric.
Eric called his parents and Pam from Thalia’s office in the bar, putting everyone on speaker phone. His parents were a little shocked, but Pam wasn’t surprised. They congratulated us and Mr. and Mrs. Northman promised to get in touch with me the next time they were in the states. It was a little odd. I figured they would come to Bon Temps when Pam had the baby, but no one mentioned it. But then again, that’s why Pam and Eric had grow up with Aunt O.; his parents didn’t know how to be parents.
Calling my friends and family had been kind of fun. Amelia had squealed and yelled before she burst in to tears. Tara, on the other hand, took a few seconds to absorb the news, and then got excited, congratulating us and asking for all of the details. While Amelia had been there for me when I tried to get back out into the world, Tara had pulled me out of a massive pit of despair, so it made sense that she was feeling cautious. Calling Jason had turned into another conference call, since we caught him having lunch at Merlotte’s. He put his cell phone on speaker and let everyone yell their congratulations.
I called my boss, Chow, in Atlanta, while Eric was on base. He was actually a pretty great guy, and I laid it all out for him. My history with Eric, our chance meeting again and now our marriage. Chow couldn’t stop laughing, telling me he knew that I’d been holding back for years, and he’d been waiting for me to do something crazy. He was happy for me and promised to do everything he could to help me transition to the job in Louisiana.
The next several days flew by. I was feeling a little sleep deprived. We’d been staying up late talking, before going to bed and having a marathon of sex, then grabbing just a couple of hours sleep.
We had dinner with Cal and Soph one night. I made Stackhouse Chicken, because Eric had promised it to Cal, and filled Soph in on the ‘secret recipe.’ She thought it was hysterical and we compared stories about watching Eric try to cook. Apparently, he had tried to make pineapple upside down cake at their place one Christmas, and he’d never lived it down. After dinner, the guys told great stories about practical jokes they’d played on friends, while Soph and I teased them about what a group of teenage boys they seemed like. At some point we started playing cards, which I am always horrible at, and we stayed up until dawn, drinking and talking.
Eric had explained some of the Marine jargon to me after Twinings’ party. I told him that they freaked me out a little when they all yelled “Get Some!” and he thought that was hysterical. He explained that it was the unofficial Marine battle cry, and that they said it all the time. He taught me some other slang, like that they called hats ‘cover,’ flashlights were ‘moonbeams,’ and a ‘rack’ was a bed. I told him that I already knew that the bathroom was a ‘head,’ he laughed and said I watched too many movies.
We met the guys from Eric’s unit downstairs at the bar another night, it was interesting, to say the least. Eric was getting us drinks when a couple of the guys started telling me stories about some of their “favorite” missions. A guy named Victor was rambling on, but I wasn’t entirely listening; I’d only met the guy twice, and I realized he never shut up. I caught something he said, and tried to listen, because I knew I’d misheard him. At the same time, I saw Eric smiling at me as he came over to join us. He looked worried when he saw my confusion and then his face hardened when he heard what Victor was saying.
“Shut the fuck up, asshole.”
“What? Dude, when we lit that place up-”
Eric grabbed him by the front of the shirt, he didn’t pull him forward, just twisted the fabric, and interrupted. “Did you just tell my wife we attacked a fucking orphanage without telling her the whole story?”
“Wha? Oh, shit.” Victor glanced at me looking terrified. “There weren’t any kids in there, ma’am. It was a rebel hideout. Didn’t I say that?”
“No, you didn’t. Thank you for clarifying.” Eric was still staring daggers at his friend. I reached up, putting a hand on his chest, and he looked down at me. “Come on, let’s go for a walk.”
Taking Eric’s hand, we walked towards the back of the bar. I went straight to the door that went to the office area, and Eric unlocked the door for us. It became much quieter as soon as the door closed behind us. Eric looked at me nervously; he probably thought I was mad at him, but I led him to the office without a word and pushed him down on the couch. He looked up at me, no doubt expecting me to lay into him for practically starting a fight in the bar.
I hiked my skirt up as I climbed into his lap, straddled his legs, and sat back.
“What?” It was not what he expected me to say.
“You would never have told me any of that story, and now that I’ve only heard a piece of it, you’re worried that I’m upset, or freaked out.”
He sighed and licked his lips. “Sookie, shit happens over there that is really hard to describe to people back at home.”
I put my hand on his mouth. “Stop. I get it. You don’t have to explain that to me. Tell me the story about the orphanage, not some blanket statement that shit happens.”
He sighed, nodding and told me the story. They had been given orders to locate and eliminate a group of rebels that were believed to be responsible for planting Improvised Explosive Devices, or IED’s, on the road to Basrah. I wasn’t sure what he meant by ‘eliminate,’ and I wasn’t going to ask. He explained that they spent a few days tracking them, I’m sure he gave me a simplified version, and that they were able to find the abandoned building the rebels were operating out of. When they tried to clear the building, a firefight broke out that eventually collapsed the back wall of the building.
“That’s not so bad. I mean, I worry for you, but, why wouldn’t you want me to know about that?”
“It’s not that I don’t want you to know, Sook.” He shook his head. “That story is nothing, but Victor made it sound like we blew up an orphanage full of kids. That’s what I hate. Nothing is ever simple there and, fuck, it doesn’t always translate well. There’s a lot of shit that I can’t tell you about too. Places we weren’t supposed to be, and things we probably shouldn’t have seen.”
“Eric, I’m okay with that. I don’t think I want to know everything, but don’t ever feel like you can’t tell me something. If it requires some explanation, I’ll listen. I don’t judge you, or anyone over there.”
He moved some hair off my forehead, and pulled me into a kiss. Sitting back, he smiled. “I love you, Bird.”
“I know. How could you not?” I teased, running my hands over his chest, watching his eyes darken.
His hands covered mine. “Don’t start something you’re not going to finish and then send me back out there.”
I moved his hands behind me, putting them on my ass, and put my own hands on his belt buckle. Glancing up at his eyes, I lowered his zipper, finding him commando, and already hard. Biting my lip, I wrapped my hand around him, sliding my thumb over the tip; my eyes closed and I moaned in anticipation. I pumped my hand up and down a couple of times, and raised myself up on my knees. Eric’s hands slid around my hips, and I felt the elastic on the waist of my panties give. I knew I’d lost yet another pair of underwear, as he pulled the fabric from between us and dropped it. One hand dipped between my legs, tracing a finger through my wetness before circling my clit. I aligned our bodies and lowered myself onto him, slowly, until he was buried inside of me.
His lips crashed against mine, and his tongue thrust into my mouth, as I moved my hips. He cupped my breasts through my dress and pinched my nipples, letting me set the pace below. We moved in rhythm, our bodies familiar halves of a whole. My breathing hitched as I felt a tingling low in my stomach; I moved faster and arched my back, but it was Eric’s voice in my ear that sent me over the edge.
“Fuck yes! Come for me.”
I rode him as waves of an orgasm rolled through me, spreading that tingling feeling like wildfire. When I was ready to collapse on him, Eric spoke again.
“Don’t stop. Fuck Sook, please don’t stop.” His hands gripped my hips like a steering wheel, driving my body up and down on him. He clenched his teeth; I could feel his entire body tense, and he pulled me down hard against him, as he came with a groan.
He gathered me against his chest and we sat, connected, resting our heads against each other, while our breathing slowed.
“I ruined your underwear.”
“I’ll get you more.”
“It’s fine.” I laughed. “But I’m going to need to hit the bathroom before we go back out there.”
“Use the one back here, or you can go upstairs and change.”
“How much longer are we hanging out?”
“I don’t know.” He shrugged.
“Well, then I’ll go to the bathroom; you can think about what I’m not wearing all night.”
“Shit. Like I needed any help thinking about you naked.”
We rejoined everyone in the main part of the bar for drinks and dancing, but Eric spent most of the time giving me dark and sexy looks and running his hands up my skirt when he could. I eventually gave up, made excuses to his friends, and dragged him upstairs. He had my dress off before he had the door to the apartment unlocked.
I woke Sookie early, bribing her with coffee to get out of bed. We drove to the beach to watch the sun come up. Sipping coffee, we sat quietly. Rubbing her back, I made big circles with my hand, as I explained again that I wouldn’t be able to contact her for a week, maybe two and that I couldn’t tell her if it would be by phone or email. There was a chance I could get an email out sooner, but I couldn’t say for sure. I reminded her where the card was that had a toll free number to call so she could make sure that I had arrived safely. She managed not to cry, nodding her head a lot and biting her lip.
“So, is it time Batman?”
“It is, Catwoman.” I sighed. “Synchronize bat-watches. Twenty-four hours and I have to be checked back in on base.”
We had agreed. At the twenty-four hour mark we were turning off our phones and ignoring everyone. We had also agreed that we didn’t want today to be sad. Being back on duty didn’t necessarily mean I was leaving, but with all of the rumors flying around, I probably only had 24 hours after checking in before the bus pulled out.
“Ready. Let’s go.”
We walked up the beach to a small cafe and had breakfast. She ordered waffles and fruit, while I got bacon and eggs with all the trimmings. She sat across from me, smiling and laughing, telling me about her plan to take time off between jobs. Her brother was going to help her drive her things from Atlanta to Bon Temps, and she wanted to have a few repairs done on Gran’s house. She also planned on coming back here to spend a week or two with Thalia and Soph. She had even conned Thalia into letting her help out at the bar while she was in town. The last I heard, they were going to work behind the bar together, which I would have paid money to see. I made them promise to do it again when I got home.
Breakfast took a while, and then we went for another walk along the beach before heading to play miniature golf. Sookie thought regular golf was like watching grass grow, but she was competitive as hell when it came to mini-golf. We had kept a running tally of wins and losses when we lived in New Orleans, the loser always paid for the next game. We went to a place with a pirate theme, laughing and making pirate jokes through all eighteen holes.
We ate lunch at McDonald’s, because it was another one of those things that I might not get for a year. They had some fast food places set up in the cafeterias overseas, but it was never as good as the stuff you got at home. I had a Big Mac and savored it as much as I did watching Sookie eat her french fries. She dipped them in ketchup and then brought them up to her dainty lips. It was fucking hot, and I knew somewhere in my brain that it was mostly because I was about to leave her. Trust me, I’d watched her eat fries a million times before and it was sexy, but this was like porn, and it was doing crazy shit to my dick.
We changed plans after lunch, because I couldn’t be responsible for my behaviour in a darkened movie theater, and went to the park. We took the beach blanket from the car and stretched out in the sun, watching families and couples enjoy the park. Sookie had a book in her purse, so she read while I massaged her feet and took a nap.
When I first thought about today, I envisioned us in bed, fucking like rabbits until we dropped, then catching our second wind and doing it again. As the week wore on though, I knew that it wasn’t what we needed. We both needed to spend time together, doing things that we could remember while we were apart. Shit, I could easily jack off thinking of her, I’d done it for years, but this, picturing her laying on a blanket in the park, I wouldn’t have come up with this image on my own.
Sookie closed her book and crawled over to cuddle against me. We were stretched out on the blanket. She had her head on my chest, and her hand innocently in my jeans pocket. She closed her eyes and sighed.
“We can go home if you want to take a nap, Bird.”
“No. I want to stay out a little longer. We won’t leave the apartment once we get back there.”
That was true. I rubbed her back.
“Talk to me.”
“About what?” I laughed.
“I just want to hear your voice.”
I sighed. “Do you remember the time we went to Florida? We drove over there with Hoyt and that girl he was dating for Spring Break? That’s one of my favorite weeks ever.”
She snorted. “I remember. I still lived in the dorm and you had three roommates. We were so excited to have a hotel room to ourselves for a whole week.”
“I remember driving home from that trip, wondering how I could go back to not having you beside me every night.”
“Remember how sun burnt Hoyt got? He was so miserable. Ooh. And his girlfriend was on that weird diet! She had to bring a cooler with her own food for the week!”
“I wonder what happened to her? Hoyt broke up with her a month or so later.”
We reminisced about old times for a while, and then I told her a couple of stories about Cal and Soph. She told me stories about Amelia and Tray. We laughed and talked, and time drifted away. Eventually, Sookie fell asleep in my arms like I knew she would. We’d been staying up til all hours, trying to spend as much time together as we could. I listened to her breath and ran my hand up and down her back, watching the sun hit my wedding band. How the hell my life had all come together in such a short time was beyond me.
When I drove back to Bon Temps, I had been prepared to beg forgiveness from Jason, and then convince him to give me Sookie’s phone number or address so I could find her in Atlanta. Then Pam called on my way into town telling me that she wanted bananas. I’ve never been one to jump and run when my sister wanted something, but she was pregnant and Andre was out of town, so I figured I would indulge her. I went to Wal-Mart because I figured they had a better selection of produce than the market in Bon Temps. I parked the Vette way out in the parking lot, away from rolling carts and car doors, and headed in. I grabbed a few things that I knew I would want while I was at Pam and Andre’s.
I made my way to the produce section, grabbing some apples and the bananas for Pam. Heading to the side of the store, I wanted to grab some carrots to snack on. Fresh vegetables were a luxury that I missed during deployment. I was oblivious to my surroundings until I leaned over for a bag of carrots. The air moved and I smelled Sookie’s perfume. I tried not to get ahead of myself, anyone could have been wearing the scent. I was actually afraid to look for her. Since I was here, in our hometown, I knew that it could really be her; it wasn’t like when I smelled her perfume when I was in the bar or in the desert. I shook it off, what were the odds really? Turning to throw the carrots in my cart, I accidentally barreled into someone. In an instant I realized it wasn’t just anyone, it was really her. I couldn’t believe it. I even said her name out loud in disbelief.
As suddenly as my hopes were raised, they were dashed when Jason came around the corner and dragged her away from me with only a few words. I stood there, dumbfounded, watching as Jason maneuvered them through the checkout and out the automatic doors. I paid for my things and put them in the car, then I sat in the parking lot trying to figure out what had happened. It was another one of those damn moments that Soph predicted in her weird way, and I couldn’t get my head around it. I had been in the right place, at the right time, and knew that it was a gift; an opportunity of a lifetime that I could not fuck up.
I took the groceries to Aunt O’s, and Pam knew something was up when I walked in the door. Shrugging, I told her I had to go to Sookie’s house. I had expected her to bitch at me, because bitching is what my sister does best, but she hugged me. Then she kissed me on the forehead and told me to call if I wasn’t coming back for dinner. The crazy in her came out when I didn’t immediately head to the car, she raised her eyebrows and shooed me towards the door. It was a major sign that more people than just Soph thought I was still fucked up over Sookie.
The rest of our week together played out in my head as Sookie napped. I thought about the years that we had been apart as well. She had been the one thing that kept me going in recent years, and now we were together, and it was entirely different. It wasn’t the possibility of Sookie that would bring me home, but reality, and I had no idea what I had done to deserve her.
*If you didn’t read the A/N above, the next chapter is his departure, so please read with kleenex and possibly cocktails in hand.*
Get Some! is a Marine expression dating back to the Vietnam War. Here’s a gigantic list of Marine jargon/expressions from wikipedia.
Get Some! is also the the title of the first episode of the HBO mini-series Generation Kill, in which Alexander Skarsgard played Brad Colbert. Here’s the link to the extended trailer if you’ve never seen GK, and it is WELL worth your watching. (Not just the trailer, the whole series. LOL)