I think Grams is trying to blind me. If I see her hand sliding down Rasul’s pants one more time I might puke. We’re in my room putting my bed together when I decide to see what his intentions are with Grams. Since he thinks she’s my mom I’ve been fighting to call her Pam instead of Grams all day. Now is no different.
“So, you like my Gra… Pam a lot, huh?” I ask him.
“I do. She’s a firecracker,” he chuckles. “Keeps me on my toes.”
“That’s true,” I smile. “She is fiery. You think you’re going to stick around a while or is this just a fling?”
“That’s up to her. She knows how I feel about her.”
“Alright,” I nod. “She’s all the family I have so I worry about her wellbeing and the people she’s around.”
“I understand,” he says. “I’d be worried about my grandmother too.”
I smile and ask, “Has she told you yet?”
“Nope, but I’m not an idiot. Plus I saw her high school diploma,” he snickers.
“I wish she would just come out and tell you. It’s not fair of her to lie. I think she’s worried you might think she’s too old. I told Sookie I had a suspicion you knew though.”
“She will when she’s ready,” he shrugs.
“Tell me if it’s none of my business, but do you generally date older women?” I ask curiously.
“Not usually, no,” he answers.
I nod and say just to make conversation, “I’ve never really worried about age either. Sookie is quite a few years younger than me.”
“So I’ve heard,” he says. “Age is only a problem if you’re into dating minors.”
“Ah, not my thing, never has been,” I chuckle. “Grams used to give me shit for dating older women when I was in high school. There were plenty of chicks that should’ve been arrested.”
“We all do crazy shit when we’re young.”
True fucking story.
“Thanks for helping, by the way.”
The bed is the final thing we need to get put together and all that’s left is mounting Penny to the wall.
“Are you any good at electronics? I could use some help putting Penny up.”
“Oh you should see my surround sound. It’s wired all over the house. I just put up speakers outside,” he grins.
“Let me know when you have your next day off and we can go to Best Buy,” I tell him seriously. “If you don’t mind. Sookie might be bothered by it, but I just gave her a brand new bathroom. I don’t think I’ll be getting in trouble for a while.”
“Safe bet. You probably bought yourself at least a month,” he laughs.
“In case you haven’t learned, you buy off Grams with shoes,” I say. “The first apology gift I bought her when I opened the bar up here was a pair of Jimmy Choos.”
“Yeah, I teased her about wearing orthopedic shoes… I’m lucky I’m not missing parts.”
“Yes you are,” I chuckle. “I put her through some shit, but she almost killed me when I lit a pair of her shoes on fire just to watch them burn. Jesus, I was a fucking prick.”
“She told me about that. Almost put you up for adoption after that stunt.”
“No one wanted a fifteen-year-old alcoholic,” I chuckle. “She made some calls.”
He nods and looks like he wants to say something but he keeps it to himself.
“It’s alright,” I say, “I’m fine talking about it now if you want to know something.”
“No, it’s not that. She’s told me a lot. I was just going to say she’s got some guilt about the road you went down,” he tells me.
I look down at the floor for a moment. “I know she’s bothered by it and I know she feels something, but she’s keeps that part closed off from me. I’m scared to bring it up; I don’t want to dredge up negative memories. We had a really rough time and I love where we’re at now.”
“I’m no expert or anything, but it’s probably better if you don’t. I mean there’s a reason she told me and not you, right?”
“Right,” I nod. “I just try to spoil her and let her know how much I appreciate her. Before Sookie, she really was all I had. I dropped everyone from my previous life when I cleaned up. It was the only way to stay away from the shit, ya know?” I have no idea why I’m opening up to Grams’ boyfriend.
“I understand. My best friend overdosed on heroin when we were twenty-three,” he tells me. “He tried I don’t know how many times to kick the shit and he always got back into it. He couldn’t seem to stay away from the other junkies he was hanging around with. You were smart to walk away. You could have ended up like Andre.”
“Andre? Little blonde kid?” I ask.
“Yeah. Looked like an even scrawnier Kurt Cobain.”
“Yeah, shit. I didn’t know he died. I did some shit with him a few times…” Fuck. “I’ve never told Sookie what I’ve done, she just knows I was and addict. Thank fuck I was able to back off when I did. I probably did heroin three times before I cleaned up.”
“That shit is a monster.” Rasul shakes his head. “As far as Sookie goes, it’s not really my business how you deal with it, but I’d say put yourself in her shoes. Would you want to know that kind of stuff about her?”
“She knows I’ll tell her anything she wants to know. I’m not going to just blurt it out. I’ve told her enough, but any details she’ll have to ask for.”
“Yeah… but wouldn’t you rather she heard it from you? She’s alone with Pam right now…” he points out.
“Good point,” I chuckle. “Maybe I’ll sit down with her to see if she wants to know. Thanks.”
“Anytime. My next day off is Monday, by the way.”
“Perfect,” I grin. “We’re closed Mondays. Want to go to Best Buy early afternoon?”
“Sounds good,” he nods. “I need a new bass cannon. It’ll scare the shit outta Pam.”
I laugh and we take off down the stairs. Grams and Sookie are in the kitchen unpacking. I notice two glasses of wine on the counter and both girls seem extra giggly.
“Good luck with that one tonight,” I whisper to Rasul.
“I heard that, you little shit,” Grams says. “I was just telling your future baby mama about how you used to play dress up and help me cook.”
“Ah, I’d still do it now if Sookie asked me,” I wink. I would do absolutely anything for that girl and I think after the bathroom she knows it. “Angel, are you going to remember which cabinet everything is in tomorrow?” I ask when I notice two empty bottles on the back counter.
“Yuh huh,” she nods. “But I wouldn’t trust me going up the stairs by myself later.”
“I got you, don’t worry,” I say as I approach her and wrap her in my arms. “I need to put Penny up and then my job is done.”
“Oh I have another job for you,” she purrs.
“Oh, yeah? And what might that be?” I ask, leaning to nibble her ear. If Grams can dry hump, so can I.
“She wants you to eat her out,” Grams blurts out.
“Angel, did you tell my grandmother you want me to do that?” I ask, not even thinking about the fact that Grams doesn’t know Rasul knows.
“No,” Sookie giggles.
“Do you want me to eat you?” I whisper into her ear.
She nods her head subtly.
“Do you think Penny can wait?”
“Go put her up while you have help. I know you’re dying to feel her up and see all the things she can do for you.”
“Help is coming back Monday to help me install surround sound,” I grin. I’ve waited this long to watch Penny, I can wait a little longer.
“Your call,” she shrugs.
I kiss her temple quickly and Rasul and I go into the living room. It takes us just over an hour to install the mount and get Penny up on the wall. He promises to come back Monday afternoon to go to Best Buy with me and help me install the surround sound. I don’t know if Sookie realizes that’s going to be installed since she and Grams finish a third bottle of wine. I don’t know where it came from, but six bottles appeared while we were moving shit in.
Once they leave, Sookie and I go back into the house. She plops on the couch in front of Penny and leans her head back.
“Feeling okay, there, Angel?” I chuckle.
“Oh I’m feeling loose like a noodle,” she slurs.
Hmm. She’s hammered.
“How loose and noodly are you feeling? Do you still want me to have you for dessert?” We ordered three big pizzas for everyone. Sookie took Lafayette to his car a couple hours ago when she picked them up.
“Mmm… maybe. Pammy kept refilling my glass. I may throw up.”
“I’ll get you some water,” I say and go to the kitchen to get her a giant glass of water. When I get back I sit down next to her and hand her the water. “Maybe we should just get some sleep tonight,” I suggest.
“Maybe.” She curls up on her side and puts her head in my lap. “Can you make the room stop spinning, please?”
“I’m working on it,” I assure her and pull her hair tie out so I can massage her scalp. “As soon as you can, drink your water.”
“Mmm… that feels good, babe,” she whispers with her eyes closed. “Pammy gave me a breast exam.”
Oh my fucking God.
“Sookie, she was just feeling you up,” I inform her. “That’s a little gross.”
“She caught me off guard.”
“You need to be careful around her. She swings both ways, Sugartits,” I chuckle.
“Yeah I got that when she offered to do the job you didn’t get right on,” she giggles.
“Angel face, you’re killing my cock. I don’t think I’ll be able to get an erection for a month if you keep talking like that.”
“Sure you will.” Sookie pats my thigh.
She’s definitely way too drunk if she isn’t trying to rip my pants open to suck my dick.
“Would you like me to carry you to bed?” I offer as I continue to play with her hair.
“Mmm… not yet. This is nice just like this,” she says. She’ll be passed out soon.
I go silent and start to twirl her hair in my fingers. I’m exhausted, but I want to make sure she’s sound asleep before I move her. I need to get her upstairs so we’re near a bathroom if she throws up. It takes less than ten minutes before I hear her lightly snoring. I scoot out from under her and go to grab a straw for her water before I take it upstairs. I come back down to scoop up Sookie’s dead weight and carry her to bed. I get her settled in before I go to take a shower. The new shower is hands down the best, most relaxing thing I’ll ever feel next to the hot tub in Mexico. Jesus, this is nice.
When I’m done I dry off and check on Sookie. Still no movement, which is good. I leave the bathroom light on for her in case she wakes up in the middle of the night. I find some shorts to wear and slide into bed. I’m asleep in less than five minutes.
My hangover the next morning is epic. Every time just turned around last night Pam was adding more wine to my glass. I don’t know how much I drank, but damn. I hide my head under my pillow and make a mental note to get the curtains hung.
I feel Eric roll over next to me but he doesn’t talk, so I assume he’s just moving. My bladder decides when it’s time to get up. I stumble to the bathroom with my eyes closed to go pee and brush my teeth. The Advil hasn’t been unpacked yet so I need to find it.
We also need to go grocery shopping. At least we have coffee. I head down to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee and sit at the island while I wait. My head is killing me and I might still puke. As soon as the coffee is ready I pull out a mug and pour myself some. Usually I add some sugar, but I skip it.
As I’m sipping my coffee I hear Eric moving around upstairs. He comes down a few minutes later and I hand him his own cup of coffee.
“Morning,” I smile.
“Mmm, morning,” he smiles back as he takes the cup. “How you feeling this morning?”
“Like I pissed off the wine gods at some point. You?”
He chuckles and says, “A little achy, otherwise good.”
“I’ll give you a massage later if you want,” I offer.
“I won’t pass that up.” Eric reaches over to rub the base of my skull with his thumb. “I’m sure your head isn’t feeling so hot. Word of advice, drinking with Grams isn’t the wisest idea.”
“You could have told me that last night before we got started,” I tell him.
“I didn’t know you were drinking or I would have.”
“Babe, she wanted to construct a wine bong,” I chuckle.
“And she used to yell at me for doing shit like that,” he smiles, shaking his head.
“Apparently she’s fond of two glasses of red with a NyQuil chaser.” Pam is nuts.
“She’s crazy.” I finish my coffee and refill my mug.
“That’s an understatement,” Eric laughs. “I don’t know if you remember me telling you last night, but Rasul is going to help me install surround sound.”
“I do. It’s fine with me as long as it’s not all over the house,” I tell him.
“I won’t be an idiot,” he promises.
“Hey, so last night Rasul brought up something that I haven’t really thought about,” Eric tells me. “About my drug use and the shit I did in my past. Is that something you’re interesting in knowing, or would you rather it stay in my past? I guess I just don’t want Grams saying something that might change your mind about me…”
“I am curious about your past, but I feel like it’s the sort of thing you should tell me on your time and not mine. So far Pam hasn’t said word one about it to me and I think if she ever tried to I’d cut her off. Even though your pasts are entwined, I want to hear about it from you, not her,” I tell him.
Pam telling me she caught Eric doing a line of coke or something is too… vague. I’d want to know why he did it, if it was the only time, if he liked doing it… there are too many questions for me to discuss his past with someone else. Not to mention, Pam’s perspective of it all is completely different from his. It’s just better if I talk to him about it directly.
“Oh, well… I’m fine talking about it these days. I just didn’t know if you wanted to know those things.”
“Of course I do,” I tell him with a little smile. “I just figured you’d talk about it when you were ready.”
“I’m ready whenever. I know you aren’t feeling too hot at the moment if you don’t want to hear about it. Honestly, there’s not a lot to tell,” he shrugs.
“I can listen,” I assure him. “The coffee is helping quite a bit.”
“Good,” he smiles. He leans over to kiss my temple. “I don’t really know what to tell you, I guess is the other end of this, ya know?”
“Tell me whatever you want to tell me,” I shrug. “Maybe start with how you got into it?”
“Well, you know I started drinking when I was thirteen. I had a fucking shitty, shitty day at school. I hadn’t hit my growth spurt just yet and if you can believe it, I was bullied a little. That really wasn’t it though. One of my grade school friends knew I was being raised by Grams and the reasons why. He started teasing me about it just to be a dick and the girl I liked at the time overheard. Of course that pissed me off and hurt and managed to bring out all that bad shit I’d been holding onto since my dad died. I was tired of feeling like that. I was tired of feeling so… unwanted and alone. Of course I had Grams, but I was a kid, I didn’t see it that way. Plus, you see how loving she is,” Eric chuckles. “Anyway, one of my friends was with me and started going through the cabinets, looking for a snack. He ran across Grams’ wine and tequila collection. He asked if I wanted to try it, I said why the hell not because I was a thirteen-year-old boy and I did dumbass things all the time.
“Later that night I remember feeling numb and that was a good feeling for me. The hurt and anger I held onto didn’t exist anymore. Grams ripped me a new asshole for drinking, but that didn’t matter. I wanted that feeling back. So I started drinking more and more, getting stealthier about it as time went on. Then… I really fell into the wrong crowd. I’m sure on my own the alcohol would’ve been enough.”
I’m not sure what the appropriate reaction is. Mostly I want to hug him, but I know there’s more. Probably a lot more, contrary to what he said about it being pretty simple. So I just nod and wait for him to continue.
“I was nearing fifteen the first time I smoked pot. This guy Hugo just handed me the joint. I was already smoking cigarettes by then and it didn’t even phase me to put something else to my lips. I almost lost a lung after the first hit, but fuck did I feel good,” he says with a little smile. “I’d already gotten good at hiding what I was doing from Grams so hiding the pot wasn’t any different. I never smoked in confined spaces, always washed my hand and brushed my teeth when I was done. Later I learned Grams knew, but she didn’t know what to do with me, if you can imagine that.
“About six months later that same prick, Hugo, handed me a straw and pointed me to a line of coke. When that high wore off I started going through Grams’ pills looking for the same high. I did meth with Isabel the first time and that shit did me in. I can’t put into words what it does to you,” he says, shaking his head. “It was for my sixteenth birthday and she handed me a pipe and crawled onto my lap. I was in fucking heaven. I’d already had sex at that point, but Isabel was older and at sixteen fucking an older chick was a big deal. I don’t even remember if she was any good. She kept pushing the dope on me and started telling her friends what a big cock I have. The girls and drugs went hand in hand. I did shit by the time I was eighteen that would curl a lot of fucking toes. I’ll spare you the details.
“I was long done with Isabel and sucking back anything anyone put in front of me. You name it, I’ve done it. Anyway, what trigger all this was Rasul brought up a kid he knew that ODd on heroin at twenty-three. I knew that kid and I’d done heroin with him once…” he trails off. I don’t know if he feels the tears in his eyes as he talks to me.
Eric takes a deep breath before he continues. “All this time Grams never left me. She would threaten to kick me out and I would go just to shut her up. I would couch surf as long as I could and then go back home. I would promise her I was going to clean up and then go right back out for another hit. It was when I stole her ring… it was the heroin that did it. I only did it three times, but I was hooked. If Grams and I didn’t get in that fight over her ring I could’ve easily been Andre. But… she caught me and when I cocked my fist back to hit my grandmother I was coherent enough to register the look of terror on her face and I just broke. I fell to my knees and cried like a fucking baby. Do you know what she did? She got down with me and held me while I cried. When I was calm enough she asked me if I was ready and I was. I went to a rehab facility in Chicago. She wanted to get me as far away from my friends as possible. Hurricane Katrina hit while I was in Chicago so when it was all said and done Grams was already living up here. I was able to start fresh. When I moved home they set me up with an AA class and got a sponsor. I’ve had urges, for sure, but I always had someone to call instead of going out to have a beer or smoke a joint. Opening the bar was a test, I passed with flying colors. I always figured I could turn it into a restaurant if being around mass quantities of alcohol got to be too much. It still hasn’t,” he tells me with a small smile. “That’s it without getting too graphic.”
“Wow,” I whisper. I’m going to need a minute on this.
“Take your time,” he says, reaching over to rub my back.
“Obviously, I’m happy that you got clean and you’ve stayed that way,” I tell him. “That path is just… it’s hard for me to imagine since mine was so different.”
“I understand. I don’t make any excuses. I was a kid; I made stupid choices.”
“I would imagine if you made excuses for why you did it you wouldn’t be clean right now. You know it’s kind of strange… I get why Pam worries about you being in a bar all the time given that alcohol was your gateway drug and all that, but I don’t worry about you relapsing because it’s Thursday and oh hey, there’s beer! I worry more about something hitting you hard emotionally and that’s what does it since that seemed to be your trigger the first time. Like in Mexico when I saw you sitting at the bar. I was prepared to pack my shit, get back on a plane and never see you again if you were drinking.”
“Oh, the emotional shit scares her. When you were attacked she slyly asked if I was feeling any inkling to drink and by slyly I mean she flat out asked if I was shooting tequila with a crystal meth chaser. Subtlety is not her strong point,” Eric laughs.
I laugh and say, “Yeah, I’m very aware of that. She asked me last night if you make sure there’s enough lubricant before you go to Pound Town.”
“Why would she want to know that?” Eric asks rhetorically.
I just shrug and shake my head. I have no idea why she asked and all she got for a response was me doubled over laughing hysterically. I’m actually shocked that Eric and Rasul didn’t come down to check on us afterward.
“I think she’s just a nosy old lady. Or maybe she likes to see what it takes to gross us out? I don’t know.” I sip my coffee some more.
“You see why she’s one of my favorite people, though?” he chuckles. “Sorry to put all this on you first thing in the morning. I should’ve told you all that before we bought a house just in case you wanted to dump me.”
“No, I don’t want to dump you.” I set my mug to the side and pull him closer to me to give him a hug. “I think it takes a lot of strength and courage to go through all the things you have and I’m very happy that I’m hugging you right now.”
“Me too,” he replies as he rubs my back. “Plus your tits feel amazing,” he teases.
“See that’s why I like you. You enjoy the simple things,” I chuckle.
“Mmm, you learn a lot when you’ve lived as much as me,” he smiles and squeezes me a little tighter.
“What’s the most important thing you’ve learned?”
“To trust myself and hold on to the positive. The anger isn’t going to get me anywhere good.”
“Those are pretty good lessons.”
“I also learned I prefer to have a curvy little blonde pressed against me over just about anything else these days,” he whispers and tilts my head up for a soft kiss. “I love you, Angel.”
“I love you too,” I reply. “How about some breakfast? I’m starving.”
“You never have to ask me twice about food,” he snorts. “What do you want?”
“Since we have no food in the house except leftover pizza and two unopened bottles of wine, we need to go out. I started writing a shopping list last night before Pam started me on the wine.”
I slide down off the island and rinse my coffee cup out. I need a shower since I didn’t take one before bed last night. Hell, I don’t even remember going upstairs. The last thing I remember is falling asleep on Eric’s lap, so he must have carried me up at some point.
“Want to go to Perk’s to get that French toast? That shit is like heaven in your mouth,” Eric says. “And do you want to shower together if I promise no funny business?”
“Sounds like good plans to me, but I wouldn’t be opposed to a little funny business,” I wink at him.
“Consider me hilarious,” he grins and smacks my butt as we head up the stairs.
“Hey!” I yelp and run a little faster.
Of course Eric catches up to me no problem and even surpasses me on the stairs thanks to those tree trunks he calls legs. He gets a quickie handjob from me in the shower but I don’t let him return the favor. I’ll cash in another time.
I’m glad he told me about his past. I couldn’t imagine going through all those things. Hearing it makes me realize that I need to stop putting things off and go talk to Gran already. Things haven’t been the same between us since she told me about the affairs she had and I miss the way things were. I don’t know if we can ever really go back but we can try to make things better going forward. I miss her.