I can’t believe she’s mad because I didn’t want a goddamn hand job. I’m still fucking livid over what happened to her. Of course no one can find that cunt Debbie. I still have so much anger toward the situation. I’ve been as calm and caring as possible, but getting a hard-on just isn’t in the cards. Fuck, I was joking when I told I’ve been jacking off. Every time I look at Sookie I see the bruises Debbie caused. Sookie winces when she moves. And now this.
I get that Sookie is angry. She didn’t deserve any of this, no one does. I know she’s in pain. I’ve been the one taking care of her, getting her pain meds, getting her food, drinks, helping her shower. It’s not as easy for me to let things go. It takes a lot more time to work through things than it does for Sookie and I don’t know if she gets that. I spent way more time in rehab and therapy than anyone should have at twenty-four and I still have to suppress my anger. Most things I can walk off. This time I don’t feel like I’m going to be better until Debbie is found. I need to know she’s getting punished for what she did to Sookie.
Once I pick up the lamp, I take the bulb to the trash and rinse my hands. I go out to the living room to find Sookie and of course she’s gone. Well, fuck. Today is only getting worse.
I find my phone and call her. Hopefully she isn’t too far.
“What?” she answers.
“I’m sorry,” I sigh. “Can you please come back?” I’m not mad at Sookie, I’m mad at the situation.
“No, not tonight. You need to cool off and so do I.”
“I’m as cool as I’m going to get, Sookie. I’ll be here.”
“What did you hit?” she asks. “That’s not someone with an even temper and the last thing I need is for you to blow your cool and throw something that hits me by accident. I have enough problems right now.”
“I would never throw anything in the room with you. I would never put you in danger, that’s why… that’s why I’m so… I’m just sorry, Sookie.” She told me to stop beating myself up over it, but that’s easier said than done.
She stays silent, but I can hear her breathing and I’m pretty sure she’s crying on her end of the line.
“Sookie, please,” I plead softly. “Let me come to you if you won’t come back here.”
“Not tonight,” she sniffles. “I’ll call you tomorrow.”
“Right… Okay… I love you.”
“I love you too,” she replies and hangs up.
I toss my phone on the coffee table and flop down on the couch. I throw my arm over my eyes and take a deep breath. I know she’s not only mad because I didn’t let her give me a hand job. She’s been too worried about her aches and bruises to think about much else, but my brain is constantly on the fact that she can barely sit on the toilet on her own thanks to Debbie fucking Pelt.
I sit up and grab my phone. I’ve been back to the bar, but Alcide hasn’t. If he fucking knows something I’m going to kill him. I dial his number, ready to rip him a new one if he knows where Debbie is.
“Herveaux,” he answers.
“It’s Eric,” I reply.
“Oh hey. How’s Sookie doing?”
“She’d be doing a hell of a lot better if your crazy fucking bitch of an ex didn’t attack her. Do you know where she is? The cops still can’t seem to find her.”
“Yeah, I know. They’ve been watching my place to grab her if she shows up here. I have no clue where she is, believe me, or I’d turn her in,” he says.
“Can you do me a favor and never talk to Sookie again? She said Debbie kept yelling at her to keep her hands off of her man… She could’ve killed my girlfriend because she was jealous. Is this enough of a wakeup call to stay away from the crazy bitches?”
“Hey, it’s not my fault Debbie did what she did. Don’t put that shit on me,” he says. “I’m barely responsible for myself. I’m not responsible for her.”
What a selfish prick.
“Just do me a favor and if you see Sookie in the bar, don’t talk to her.” I’ve already put feelers out for a bouncer.
“Whatever,” he replies.
“Right, well, if you see the cunt, turn her in.”
“I already said I would.”
I hang up. I don’t have anything else to say to him. I toss my phone down again and get up to find my running shoes. Maybe I can get some aggression out with a long run.
The next day I’m in the kitchen making a protein shake when I see my phone light up on the counter. It’s Sookie calling.
“Hello?” I answer as I turn off the blender.
“How are you feeling?”
“Sore, but I’m used to it. You?”
“Sore too,” I admit. It’s been too long since I last worked out and all of my muscles ache.
“Why? What’d you do?” she asks nervously.
“Ran twenty miles… It helps with my aggression.” So does fucking, but that’s not on the menu, and I do not cheat.
“Jesus,” she mutters.
“It’s not even a marathon,” I chuckle.
We both go silent for a minute or so.
“I miss my angel,” I whisper.
“I don’t know what I can say to you, Eric. You internalize everything and the last thing I want is for you to end up punishing yourself because I’m being honest with you,” she says. “You scare me sometimes, you really do.”
“I don’t mean to… and… I’m trying, harder than you know.”
She sighs heavily and says, “I don’t know what else to say.”
“Let me come see you,” I plead.
There’s a pause before she relents. “You have a key.”
“Thank you,” I reply quietly. I could’ve used it already, but I was waiting for her to give me the green light.
We hang up and I finish making my shake. I drink it as I go to put my shoes on. On my way to Sookie’s I stop and for the first time get her red roses. Two dozen this time. Within the hour I’m walking in to her house. She’s not in the living room, so I go through the apartment until I find her in bed.
“For you,” I say, holding out the roses.
“Thank you.” She takes them but there’s none of her usual enthusiasm.
“I’m sorry for scaring you,” I say sincerely, sitting on the edge of the bed. “I’m sorry for not letting this go so easily…”
“There’s this pit in my stomach and it gets a little bigger every day that I see you tormenting yourself for one reason or another. I hate what Debbie did. You’re not the only one living with a reminder of it, Eric. I can’t take a deep breath without reliving it,” she says. “But I’m not going to let her win either. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life walking on egg shells or being afraid of my own shadow. I wanted us to get back to normal and you want to keep living in this rut of regret and anger. I can’t live that way, Eric.”
I watch her face for a moment, taking in her words. I get what she’s saying, and I’m doing my best to let it go. This has always been my problem. This is what ends up ruining everything good in my life, and I won’t ruin what I have with Sookie.
“We won’t live that way,” I say quietly. “I can’t promise that I still won’t get angry, or have an easy time letting some things go. I can promise to start trying so that in time I can be that guy, the one that let’s go of the anger and breathes. I love you, Sookie and I won’t let her ruin us.”
“Thank you,” she says. “I don’t want to be afraid of being honest with you.”
“I don’t want that either. You never have to be afraid of me, that’s one thing I can promise,” I tell her, reaching up to tuck her hair behind her ear.
“Can you trust me to know what I can handle?”
“I love you,” I whisper, leaning in to press a soft kiss to her lips.
“I love you too,” she replies.
“Has the moment still passed for the hand job?” I joke, trying to make her smile.
“Depends on if you’re going to grit your teeth the whole time.”
“Nope, I’ll even get hard,” I whisper, kissing the tip of her nose.
She smirks and says, “I can’t believe you turned down a hand job.”
“It’s not that crazy,” I tell her. I grab her hand and rest it on my cock.
“Not for the average guy, but nothing about you is average.” She squeezes my cock.
“Mmm, nope, not average at all.” I tilt my head to kiss her neck, sucking lightly. “What can I do for you?” I whisper against her skin.
“Take your pants off.”
“As you wish.” I kiss her again before I stand to drop my track pants. “Shirt too?”
I slip my T-shirt off and throw it across the room. “Where would you like me, Mistress Sookie?” I ask.
I do as I’m told, lying down next to her in the middle of the bed on my back. Sookie puts her roses on the nightstand and then moves to sit on her knees between my legs. She pulls her top off and tosses it to the side. She wraps her hand around my base and starts stroking me slowly.
I keep my eyes on her face. I can feel myself getting harder and harder as her hand moves up and down my shaft.
“I missed this,” I whisper, reaching up to rub my thumbs over her nipples.
“Me too.” Her thumb rubs over my tip to spread around my pre-cum.
My hips begin to buck slowly. I tug on her nipples, before rolling them between my fingers. “Look how hard you’re making me, Angel…” I moan. I haven’t had a hard-on in almost a week and this isn’t going to take too long.
“It’s hard to miss,” she smirks. Her wrist begins to twist and she tightens her grip a little like I showed her once.
“Mmm, that feels good,” I breathe. “Are you going to let me touch you too?”
“This is about you,” she tells me. Her head lowers and her lips wrap around my tip.
“Fuck,” I hiss. I rest my hand on the back of her head, pushing down softly to get her to take me deeper.
“Don’t push,” she says and lifts her head completely.
“Shit, sorry. Your mouth feels so fucking good,” I tell her. “So wet… And warm, mmm…”
Sookie keeps stroking me but she keeps her head up.
“I want more than your hand, Angel. Can you sit on me? I promise to thrust nice and slow,” I whisper, stroking her hair.
“I don’t feel like having sex,” she tells me.
“That’s too bad,” I pout a little.
Sookie doesn’t reply, she just keeps stroking me. I keep my eyes on her face as my orgasm builds. Her hand is small, but warm and she knows just when to tightens and release. My shaft begins to swell some, pulsing in her grip.
“Where do you want it?” I breathe. “I’m so close, Angel.”
She adjusts the angle of my cock so I’m aimed at her tits. I start breathing heavily, my balls tighten and I feel a tight coiling in my stomach.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” I grunt right before I explode all over her tits. “Oh… wow…” I pant. I suddenly feel a million times lighter.
“Feel better?” she asks after a minute.
“Much, much better.” I shouldn’t have stopped her yesterday. Fuck.
“Good. I’ll be right back.” Sookie releases me and scoots off her bed to go to the bathroom.
I don’t move. I don’t think I can move. I close my eyes to wait for her to come back. Jesus fuck, if I’d known an orgasm would make me feel better I would’ve jacked off days ago.
I take my time getting myself cleaned up in the bathroom. I know Eric needed that release, but to say I’m not feeling pretty or sexual right now would be the understatement of the year. It doesn’t help that Eric is so reluctant to touch me.
When I leave the bathroom I put a clean shirt on and sit at the edge of my bed. I ended up calling Lafayette to come over and stay with me last night. Every little noise made me jump out of my skin. I get the feeling Eric thinks I’m fine with all this, but I’m not. I don’t think I will be until I know Debbie is locked up.
“So what are you up to today?” I ask him.
“Whatever you want me to do until I go to the bar later. Do you want to come with me tomorrow to have lunch with Grams? She asked me to invite you.”
“I can’t. I go back to work tomorrow,” I tell him.
“Already?” He sounds surprised.
“Yeah. I have to get back to my regular life. Sitting at home is driving me crazy.”
“Do you want to go out today?” he offers, reaching over to take my hand.
“Maybe,” I shrug. “I have to do laundry at some point. I don’t have any clean uniforms.”
“I’ll put some in the wash for you and we can go to a movie or something. Maybe just go walk around the mall.”
“Maybe,” I say again. “I’ll get the laundry, though. I need to start taking care of myself again.”
“Okay.” Eric rolls off the bed to get his pants and pull them back on before he lies back down. “I could eat… I haven’t really had much the last few days.”
“I’ll go make you something,” I offer and stand up to leave the room. My insides scream at me, but I ignore it and keep moving. I’ve beaten worse things than bruises.
“Want me to come out with you?”
“No, it’s okay. I’m sure you’re tired after your run. I’ll bring it to you,” I answer.
I continue on to the kitchen and open the fridge to see what I have. I’ve been keeping dairy products just for Eric, but I have no idea what to make him. I close the fridge and move to the pantry. Still nothing is jumping out at me. I can always think of something to make, even if I’m inventing a recipe.
I’m standing in the pantry, trying to figure something out, when I hear Eric come into the kitchen.
“Is everything okay in here?” he asks, pressing his chest against my back, wrapping his arms loosely around me.
I try not to wince but my body stiffens a little. “Yeah, just going over my options.”
I feel Eric stiffen as well, but he doesn’t let go like he normally does. Instead he drops his head to kiss my neck and whispers, “Would you like to talk them over? Maybe we can work together on this.”
“I’ll figure it out. You’re supposed to be resting, remember?”
“I remember. I could hear you sighing so I thought I’d check to see if I could offer any assistance.”
“Thank you, but I’m fine,” I tell him.
He let’s go of me and straightens up. “I’ll be in the room,” he says stiffly and walks away.
I deflate a little and lean against the wall. I feel this… rage clawing at me inside. I want to hit something, throw something, anything. I’ve never felt like this before and it’s fucking scary. I don’t know how Eric walks around feeling like this day after day. He’s not constantly feeling like this, but once is enough for me.
My arm flies out and I grab a box of macaroni and cheese. I take it out of the pantry and before I know it’s happening, I hurl it across the room and scream as loud as I can. I don’t stop until I’m out of breath and by then Eric is standing in the kitchen, looking all concerned and confused. I open my mouth to explain and burst into tears instead.
Eric closes the distance and pulls me into his arms to let me cry against his chest. “You don’t have to explain anything, Angel,” he whispers into my ear. He holds me tight, ignoring my bruises.
My body shakes with my sobs and I don’t try to stop myself. I hate feeling so angry and scared and I don’t know how to make it better. Gran raised me to be a strong, independent woman and I hate feeling so weak and needy. I’ve never let myself be a victim. Ever. I’ve never used my past as an excuse to feel sorry for myself, but this time, for some reason, it’s different. And I hate it. I hate not feeling safe in my own home. I hate that I can’t stand being alone. That’s not me.
I don’t know how much time passes before the sobbing finally stops, but when it does I’m completely exhausted.
“Come on, let’s go sit,” Eric says, rubbing my back.
I let him lead me to the couch. My face is a mess of tears and snot. His chest isn’t much better off.
“I’m sorry,” I apologize once we’re settled.
“You have nothing to be sorry for,” he assures me.
I take a deep breath and reach for the box of Kleenex on the end table with a shaking hand. I pull one and hand it to Eric before pulling another to mop up my own face. Eric wipes off his chest. He pulls me closer so he can kiss my head.
“Are we going to talk about it?” he asks quietly.
“I exploded,” I admit as if he doesn’t know. “I’m angry about what happened but I’m also angry with myself for letting it go to my head. I’m used to being independent and last night I had to have Lafayette stay over because I was afraid to be here alone. That’s not who I am and I hate myself right now for the way I feel.”
“It’s okay to be scared Sookie. Being independent doesn’t mean you can’t be terrified to be alone with there’s some psychotic woman on the loose. Having Lafayette here, me here, anyone here isn’t bad, not at all. That’s smart. You’re a strong, girl, but knowing when to ask for help is smart. Your Gran would be so proud of you and the way you’ve handled this whole thing.”
“I know. Gran loves me no matter what I do,” I sniffle. “I feel like I’m letting myself down.”
“I hope not. You should be proud of yourself. I can’t say I would be as strong as you are. You see I’ve starved myself and damn near ran my legs into nubs.”
I take a deep breath and blow it out slowly.
“I know I’ll be fine. These feelings will pass and this will be just another thing I’ve had to endure. In the meantime, it really sucks. I didn’t think my karma was so bad.”
“I wish you would’ve talked to me sooner,” he says after a moment of silence. “Not that I’ve been exactly easy to talk to.”
“I told you, you scare me sometimes,” I say softly. “I’m afraid of putting too much on you and you relapse or something. I couldn’t live with myself if that happened to you because of me.”
“I promise you don’t have to worry about that, Sookie. I know it could happen, but I promise if I ever feel like I’m going to relapse I’ll talk to you first. I had a sponsor for a long time, but she caught her boyfriend cheating and went off on a bender. We haven’t talked in a few years. I’ve been good on my own though.”
I rest my head against the back of the couch and close my eyes.
“I’m a mess,” I say.
“You just need a little dusting off and you’ll be just fine, Angel.”
“I love you, beautiful girl.” Eric leans over to kiss the tip of my nose, threading his fingers through mine.
“I love you too,” I reply. My head moves over to rest on his shoulder and I end up falling asleep there.
My first day back at work is rough. By the time I clock out everything hurts and I just want to curl into a ball and die. The ride home doesn’t help at all and when I get to my apartment the only things I want are my pain meds and my bed.
When I open the door, though, there are candles lit everywhere and there’s a trail of rose pedals leading me to my bathroom where a bubble bath is waiting for me. Only one person could have done this.
“Eric?” I call out from my spot in the bathroom.
“Yes?” he says, coming out of nowhere. He’s in a pair of old jeans and a Ramones T-shirt, barefoot with another dark red rose in his hands.
“This is… you didn’t have to do all this,” I tell him. This is the sweetest thing any boyfriend has ever done for me.
He smiles softly and walks over to hand me the rose. “I did this because I like spoiling you, not because I had to.”
“Thank you.” I push up to kiss him.
“You’re welcome. Do you need help taking your clothes off?” he asks without a hint of innuendo.
I don’t, but I lift my arms anyway. He gently tugs my shirt over my head before he reaches back to unhook my bra with ease. He unbuttons my pants and pushes them down my thighs, hooking my panties on the way.
“Need help in?” he asks, ghosting his hands down my back to caress my ass.
“Probably. Everything hurts right now,” I tell him.
I grab my medicine off the vanity and shake the proper dosage from the bottle. I swallow the pills and let Eric help me get settled in the tub. The water feels really, really good.
“I thought you were working tonight?”
“Chow has it under control,” he says, taking my hair down so he can massage my head.
“Mmm… that feels really good, Eric,” I moan. I may fall asleep in here.
“Good,” he smiles softly. “How was work?”
“One look at me and they stuck me with secretarial duties, but I still had to run labs and stuff. It was a long day. I’m glad I’m off tomorrow,” I admit. “How was lunch with Pam?”
“Good. She’s worried about you. Mr. Sex Injury was able to find me a bouncer. Tray starts the day after tomorrow.”
“That’s great, babe. See? He’s not the devil. Maybe you should give him a chance,” I suggest.
“I am. I met him briefly before I left. Grams told him I’m her son,” he chuckles.
“How does she explain living in a nursing home?”
“She said she it’s cheaper than living in a regular apartment and this place takes people of all ages.”
I shake my head.
“Either he’s not very bright or he’s comfortable with her bullshitting him,” I laugh.
“I’m pretty sure he’s just waiting for her to tell him the truth. He doesn’t seem like a dumbass.”
“A compliment?” I gasp. That’s the nicest thing he’s said so far about this guy.
“Possibly,” he smiles. Eric leans over to give me a kiss while he grabs my scrubby. “Can you lean forward? I’ll wash your back.”
I lean forward and pull my hair around to my front. He pours some body wash on it and draws light circles over my back.
“Your bruises are getting lighter,” he comments.
“Yeah, they are. I still get sore, but I’m trying not to take the pain medicine if I can help it.”
He leans over to kiss my neck. He dips his hand under the water, pouring it down my back to rinse the soap off.
“Thank you for this,” I say sincerely.
“You’re welcome,” he smiles. “I’m glad you’re able to sit here now.”
“Want me to wash your front?”
“If you’d like.”
“I always like,” he smirks.
I smile at him and lean back against the wall with my hair piled up behind my head. “Wash away,” I say.
Eric adds a little more body wash to the scrubby and starts at my chest, slowly working down to my breasts. He keeps his eyes on mine as he skims along the underside, brushing his thumb over my nipple.
“This okay?” he asks as he moves to my other breast, stroking my nipple again.
“Perfect,” I whisper and close my eyes.
He hums softly and moves down my stomach, keeping his hand nice and slow. I can feel his eyes on my face as he washes from hip to hip. He moves down to my thighs, slowly moving down one and moves back the other. When he’s done he cups the water to pour down my chest, rinsing the bubbles off.
“You want to stay here a little longer?” he asks quietly when he’s done.
“Mmm… maybe a few minutes. It feels nice to float,” I tell him. “If I close my eyes I can imagine I’m on some Caribbean beach floating in the surf.”
“Maybe I’ll take you for your birthday next year.”
“That might be nice.”
“Mmhmm,” he hums. I can feel the water moving over me as he draws patterns in it.
“Have you ever been down there before?”
“Nope. I haven’t travelled too much,” he admits. “I went to Mexico once, so I have a passport.”
“I’ll have to apply for one. All of my travels have been domestic,” I tell him.
“Maybe we can do that next week and run down to Mexico for a few days for my birthday.”
“When is your birthday?” I should know this but I don’t.
“Will I have my passport in time? I thought it took a few months to have the application approved.”
“Four weeks tops,” he shrugs.
I think about it for a minute and say, “Okay, let’s do it.”
“Alright. I’ll start looking at deals tomorrow.”
“How long do you want to go for?”
“Three or four days is fine.”
“Okay. I just need to know so I can put in for the time off,” I tell him.
“Alright. I’ll let you know once I have it booked,” he says. “You ready to get out? The water’s getting cold.”
“Yeah. I have to get online and look at skimpy bikinis for Mexico,” I smile.
“Nah, I’ll find us a nude resort,” Eric chuckles.
“Dream on, mister. Besides, you won’t be able to control Northman South if I’m walking around naked,” I giggle.
“Who says I want to? I can just bend you over… anything at any time.”
“Not on a public beach you won’t,” I laugh and sit up to pull the plug on the drain.
“Ah, where’s your sense of adventure?” Eric smiles, grabbing my towel.
“I’m adventurous,” I argue. I push myself up out of the water and turn to face Eric.
He looks me up and down and hums appreciative and says, “My office doesn’t count as adventurous.”
“I let you cuff me,” I remind him and step out of the tub.
“I’m a safe bet. I’m not going to leave you there or take pictures or anything. Only mild torture,” he winks.
“True, but you won’t let me cuff you, so maybe you’re the unadventurous one,” I suggest.
“You’ve never asked.”
“Would you let me?” I step closer to him and look up into his pretty blue eyes.
“If you wanted to,” he nods, settling his hands on my shoulders.
“Really?” That surprises me after the comments about not wanting to be anyone’s bitch.
“Really,” he winks. “Yes, I’m willing to be your bitch.”
“Careful. If you follow your Grams’ line of thinking you’ll end up married to me,” I laugh and start drying off.
“Why do I have to be careful?” he asks, whipping the towel from my hands. “This is my job tonight.”
“Well I guess it depends on whether or not you want to end up married to me,” I shrug.
“I don’t think it would be the worst thing,” he says, moving around to dry off my backside.
“That’s comforting,” I chuckle.
He surprises me when he wraps his hand around my throat to turn my head toward his. He dips his head to kiss me and whispers against my lips, “I would be extremely lucky to marry you one day.”
Just to tease him I say, “Yes you would.”
“Minx,” he growls and pats my butt. “I have a nightgown in the room for you.”
“Lead the way, Romeo.”
Eric picks up my hand to kiss the back before he guides me into the bedroom. One of my skimpier nightgowns is lying on the bed. He picks it up for me and motions for me to lift my arms so he can out it on. Once on he says, “I have dinner made if you’re hungry. Taco casserole, minus the cheese. It’s staying warm in the oven.”
“Am I dying and no one told me?”
“No. Is it a bad thing that I want to spoil my woman?”
“Not at all. I’m just not used to it yet,” I answer. I give him a kiss and say, “Thank you for all of this. I really do appreciate it.”
“You’re welcome. Now go sit. If you’re up to it I’ll have you for dessert,” he purrs.
“Maybe,” I wink. On his way out I pinch his butt. This is the most normal I’ve felt since the attack. I’ve missed it.