Chapter 2

Back

I wake up in the morning with a headache, still dressed in the same clothes I was wearing last night. I groan and roll over, only to find there’s writing on my arm. What the hell? Oh right. Eric.

Don’t forget to call Schmoopy, my arm reminds me. I laugh and then groan again. I roll out of bed and literally crawl into my bathroom that’s just across the hall. The house is silent and since Dawn’s bedroom door is wide open I assume she went home with Alcide last night. I pull myself up on the sink and grab a bottle of Tylenol out of the medicine cabinet.

My sandals are still on.

I drank way too much last night but at least I stopped before I made myself sick. After taking the pills I get the shower going and go to the kitchen to start the coffee maker. I strip off my clothes while walking back to my bedroom and drop all the dirties on the floor before going back across the hall to shower. The first thing to go is Eric’s note. I know he must have written it on my arm because that’s not my handwriting.

He seemed like a nice guy and since he’s going through the same thing I am, there wasn’t any pressure to try and make something happen. He was fun to be with and I enjoyed hanging out with him. It’s definitely a good thing I picked vanilla. I take my time in the shower and enjoy the hot water.

After my shower I wrap myself in my robe and go to the kitchen for coffee. It’s after eleven but I have no idea what time I got home last night. I decide to test the waters and send Eric a text because I don’t want to wake him up, but if he wants to go get breakfast together and have a sober conversation, I’d be okay with that.

Me: Mornin’ Schmoopy. Wanna meet for breakfast?

Schmoopy: I can get on board with food. I feel like shit… how are you doing?

Me: The coffee and shower are helping the hangover. Greasy food will make it even better.

Schmoopy: Mmm grease… where shall I meet you?

Me: Octavia’s? Ever been there? Best hashbrowns in the city.

Schmoopy: I’ve driven past it. Give me 30?

Me: Yep. See you there.

I don’t hear back from Eric, so I assume he’s getting ready to meet me. I put on a maxi dress and a pair of comfy sandals. I grab a cardigan because it’s always a little chilly in the restaurant and since it’s within walking distance of my apartment, I leave ten minutes before I’m supposed to be there and start walking. When I get to Octavia’s I’m not surprised to see it’s busy. It’s always packed on weekends, but they’re only open until two. I like that they only do breakfast on weekends.

I go inside and get my name on the list. I don’t spot Eric anywhere so I find an open space to wait for him to come in. I’m playing Tetris on my phone when I hear a vaguely familiar voice apologize for tripping over someone’s foot. I look up and shake my head at Eric while laughing.

“You’re like a baby deer that hasn’t gotten their coordination down yet,” I tell him as he approaches me.

He’s dressed in a pair of camo cargo shorts with a white t-shirt and a pair of chucks. He looks good, and definitely a little scruffier than I remember but I don’t mind that. As long as he doesn’t grow a goatee we’ll be just fine. I fucking hated the one Quinn had. Just to piss him off my brother started calling him Prison Pussy for it.

“I blame it on the alcohol,” he shrugs. He leans down to give me a half hug. “I’m glad you call– texted me.”

“It was hard not to with that note on my arm,” I giggle. “Do you always write on the arms of the girls you meet?”

“I wrote on your arm?” he asks, raising his eyebrows. “Sorry, I don’t think I do,” he chuckles.

“You did.” I show him my arm where I can still see a stain from whatever marker he used to do it.

“Eh, I guess it worked,” he shrugs as he rubs his thumb over my arm. “How long have you been here?”

“Just long enough to get my name on the list and get to level five in Tetris.”

Eric cracks his neck and then takes a look around. “How long till we can get in? I need coffee stat.”

“Since there’s just two of us it could be pretty quick,” I tell him. Then again, it’s hard to say.

“I woke up on the bathroom floor,” he chuckles. “I didn’t throw up, but I have a feeling I wanted to at one point.”

I laugh and say, “If it helps I crawled to mine this morning.”

“It helps a little,” he smiles. “I don’t think I’m going to agree to anything Alcide suggests ever again.”

“Well last night wasn’t a total loss,” I say with mock offense.

“No, no it wasn’t,” he agrees and I can feel him staring at me through his sunglasses.

“Sookie!” The hostess calls my name. “Sookie, party of two!”

“We’re in,” I smile, and turn toward the hostess booth.

Eric’s hand lands on my lower back as we’re led through the crowded dining room to a small booth meant for two. I let him sit first since his legs need more room than mine. It’s a tight fit since we’re both on the taller side, but he doesn’t seem to mind it one bit when my legs brush his. The hostess leaves us with menus and as soon as the busboy comes around with coffee pots I think both Eric and I could kiss him.

“Coffee fiend?” I ask him while adding raw sugar to my coffee.

“That’s an understatement,” he says seriously as he starts to doctor his own cup.

“Let me guess, you’ve got a Starbucks gold card too?” I smirk and sip my coffee.

“Black. They don’t even have them anymore. I’ve been an addict longer than I care to admit,” he chuckles.

I reach across the table and cover his hand with mine. “You’re among friends here, Eric. There’s no need to be ashamed.”

“I knew I liked you,” he winks as he flips his hand to gently hold onto mine.

“You just like me because I shared my strawberry.”

“No, I think I liked you before. The strawberry cemented it.”

“I see,” I smile at him and don’t bother opening my menu. I know what I want since I get the same thing every time I come here.

Eric flips open the menu and looks for all of ten seconds before flipping it closed. “How are the biscuits and gravy?” he asks.

“Amazing. I swear Octavia stole my Gran’s biscuit recipe because they taste just like hers and my Gran makes the best biscuits in the entire world,” I tell him. I miss my Gran. I haven’t been able to go back to Louisiana for more than a year since I went with Quinn to his family’s house for the holidays last year. What a waste that was.

“Good. I think that’s what I’m getting. Maybe you can make your Gran’s biscuits for me one day so I can compare them,” he suggests.

“You don’t want to eat my cooking,” I tell him. “I did not inherit that talent. My brother, on the other hand, is a fucking wizard in the kitchen.”

“Is your Gran still around?” he asks.

“She’s alive, yes, but she’s back home in Louisiana,” I tell him, and letting my southern accent make an appearance. I trained myself to speak without it years ago.

“Hmm,” he hums, “I guess it’s going to be tricky to go sweet talk her into making me some bis–” he stops and his head snaps to the side. “Motherfucker,” he growls under his breath. “My very recent ex just walked in,” he tells me without taking his eyes off of her.

I follow his line of sight but the place is so crowded it’s hard to tell who he’s looking at, exactly, so I turn back to him.

“That sucks. Do you want to go someplace else?” I offer. I know how much I just wanted to disappear after seeing Quinn the night before.

He finally looks at me and says, “No, if I walk out she wins… fuck, maybe,” he huffs. “She’s with someone.”

“I have an idea.” I slide out of my side of the booth and say, “Trade sides with me.”

It won’t be impossible for him to see her but he’ll have to crane his neck a lot more and risk being obvious about it instead of being subtle like he is now.

“Thanks,” he says as he moves to my side. “She said she’s pregnant by him,” Eric informs me.

My eyes go wide. “Seriously?”

“Mmhmm. Said it just happened. I wanted to marry her.”

“I’m so sorry,” I say sympathetically. “How long were you together?”

The waitress comes over and we pause our conversation to order our meals before Eric answers my question.

“A year and a half. I bought her a ring just before she told me. I took that shit back though,” he tells me as he looks down at his coffee.

“I don’t blame you one bit. I would take the ring money and go on a kick ass vacation with it or something,” I tell him.

“Wanna go to Mexico?” he smirks.

I laugh and say, “I meant you should go by yourself.” I can’t tell if he’s being serious or not.

“Nah, I’d end up drinking myself to an early grave. I’d probably down a bottle of Jose and then drown in the ocean on accident.”

“Mmm… that’s not a good way to celebrate your freedom,” I say with a crinkle of my nose. “You could get a dog. Then you’d have a buddy to keep you company and he’ll never cheat on you and get knocked up with another guy’s litter.”

“True,” he nods. “I haven’t had an animal since I was a kid. I don’t know if I want one now though.”

“Pets are a lot of work,” I agree.

“The money is sitting in my savings account right now. Oh, I could go out and spend hundreds of dollars on drinks for pretty girls every night until it’s gone,” he says, flashing me a little grin.

I gasp and say, “Vegas! You could totally go to Vegas!”

“It’s an hour flight if you’re not busy next weekend,” he offers, cocking his head to the side.

“Seriously?” I really can’t tell if he’s kidding or not.

“Um… depends on what your answer would be,” he chuckles.

“Uh… I… uh…” I don’t know what to say. I mean it could be fun but I don’t know if it’s a great idea.

“It was your idea,” he smirks. “And hey, I’d even get you your own room.”

“Okay first of all, if I went with you I’d be paying for myself,” I tell him. “Second of all… I don’t know.”

“Then we don’t go,” he shrugs. “Or we could wait until we know each other better.”

“You could just go alone. That might be good for you.”

“Yeah, could be. We’ll see. I can just sit on the money for a while. It never hurts to have some extra money in case of a rainy day.”

“That’s true. Hey, you never know you might find a girl that’s worth spending that money on for another ring.” I take another drink of my coffee and when the busboy comes over both of us get refills.

He smiles and says, “My luck I would lose all the money and marry a hooker in Vegas.”

“See now that could be fun. You could get in some wild west style fight with her pimp and live on the run,” I suggest. The coffee is kicking in big time. “You know like in True Romance, minus the suitcase of cocaine, of course.”

“It would take the cocaine to get me to marry the hooker in the first place. I could invite Alcide and our friend Ras and we can have a Hangover weekend. Al’s little brother Bobby would be a perfect Alan.”

“Aww you’re a one man wolfpack,” I giggle.

Eric lets out a loud laugh, throwing his head back. He has a good laugh.

“I have a pair of white jeans I can wear, too.”

I almost choke on my coffee.

“White jeans?” I cough and cover my mouth with my napkin. What the fuck is he doing with white jeans? “You know, I think I discovered why your girlfriend broke up with you.”

“Fuck you,” he laughs. “Technically they’re overalls. I was Luigi from Mario Brothers two Halloweens ago. Al was Mario.”

“Uh huh,” I smirk. “I guess I shouldn’t laugh too much considering the red sequin slut dress in my closet from when I went as the Queen of Hearts last year.”

“Red and slut are appealing. I can do without the sequins.”

“Quinn flipped his shit when he saw me at the party we were at,” I tell him. “I ended up in a trench coat so he’d quit his bitching.”

“I’m still very glad he’s an ex. That’s a bunch of horse shit. You’re not his property and if you want to walk around looking like Jessica Rabbit he should feel lucky to have you by his side and not someone else’s.”

I sigh and say, “Well, at first I didn’t mind that he got a little possessive, but the longer we were together the worse it got. It’s funny how you rationalize a significant other’s bad behavior until you’re away from it and you realize how fucked up it was.”

Our food arrives and I don’t hesitate to reach for the pepper for my eggs. Growing up in Louisiana taught me to appreciate spicy food. His fireball shot was nothing compared to the hot sauce I grew up on.

EPOV

I immediately take the pepper from Sookie to use it on my own food. Tara hated pepper so I rarely used it around her. I take my first bite and say with my mouth full, “I’ve been thinking I wasn’t possessive enough with Tara. Maybe if I paid more attention to the way she dressed and acted around other men she wouldn’t have cheated. I think buying the ring was more so because I felt like it was time for the change. When we first started dating she let me know she didn’t want to date someone for years without the prospect of getting married. This is delicious, by the way.”

Sookie smiles and says, “Honestly, I tend to think if someone is going to cheat there’s little the other person can do to stop it. If she really loved you and took your relationship seriously no one else would have even stood a chance with her.”

“Thanks, Sookie,” I tell her. “I’ve just been going through all these ‘what ifs’ since she left. I should’ve seen it though.”

“Maybe, maybe not. I mean, maybe there were warning signs but if you’re constantly suspicious of what the other person is doing, is that really a good thing?” Sookie reaches for the hot sauce and shakes some onto her eggs.

“I was never suspicious or worried about her, or anyone for that matter,” I sigh. I look over my shoulder at Her and add, “She also never gave me a reason to be suspicious.”

“It sucks when you feel like you’ve been blindsided,” she says sympathetically.

“Mmhmm.” I look back at my food and take another bite.

“Do you want her back?” Sookie asks.

“At first I did. I thought maybe the kid was mine and we could get past the cheating, but the more I think about it, the more mad and disgusted I get. I’m pretty much positive that it’s not mine, and…” I trail off.  “Just, no.”

“Well that’s step one. It’ll get better, Eric.”

“What happened with Quinn, if you don’t mind me asking. It’s pretty obvious he’s a fucking idiot, but I’m sure that’s not the reason you split.” Since we’re on the subject I might as well ask.

“I think it was just one of those things where we had a really great beginning but from the minute we met time was ticking before it was going to end. I knew things were off but instead of talking to him about it, I decided to see if things would just balance out instead of making it worse. That completely backfired and he broke up with me. He said he was tired of my wet blanket personality,” she tells me with a straight face.

Wet blanket personality? What the fuck?

“Are you shittin’ me? You have a great personality, and I barely know you.”

“He didn’t think so,” she says with a shrug and adds more hot sauce to her eggs.

“He’s a bigger douche than I thought,” I say, pointing my fork at her. “I’m even gladder that you’re out of that relationship.”

“Like you, I’m working on it. I know I’m better off deep down but you know… still sucks.”

“Yep,” I agree. “Subject change. What are your plans for today?” I ask her.

“Once I finish climbing out from under my hangover, I don’t really know. Mostly I need to do laundry and clean my apartment, and I should probably check in with Dawn since she didn’t come home last night.”

“As long as she stuck with Alcide she should be fine. He’s a nice guy, he probably even made her breakfast.”

“It’s fun being there when she walks in the morning after. I have a whole stash of pictures from her walks of shame. I’ve been hoarding them for blackmail just in case,” Sookie confesses with a wicked little smile.

“I almost want to see those,” I chuckle.

“Nope, sorry, they’re under lock and key.”

“Damn,” I pout a little. “I have pictures of Alcide passed out in various positions I can offer.”

I finish eating way before Sookie and push my plate to the side. I want more.

“Uh, that’s okay. I think I saw way more than I needed to see last night, thanks,” Sookie laughs.

“To each their own,” I shrug. “I want dessert. Do you know if it’s any good here?”

“Shut up! You do that too? I get dessert with breakfast all the time!”

I laugh and say, “I get dessert whenever I can. I need to keep up this figure.”

“I need to get mine back. I dropped at least fifteen pounds in the last month,” she tells me.

I lean over in the booth to look at her under the table. I checked her out earlier, and I’m sure I had my hands all over her last night, but I can always use another excuse to look.

“Yeah, I think I would like it if you gained that back.” When I finish I’m looking at her tits.

Sookie clears her throat and when I look up her eyebrow is raised.

“Hmm?” I hum, completely unfazed. I may be recently single and still torn up over it, but I’m still a man, and I still have eyes. “I was just appreciating the view.”

“Uh huh.”

“I’m not even sorry,” I chuckle.

Sookie shakes her head and takes one more bite of her breakfast before pushing her plate aside.

“I quit,” she says and exhales slowly.

“You have room for a brownie sundae, right?”

“Why do you think I quit?”

“Good girl,” I smile and raise my hand to call the waitress over to order dessert.

Sookie reaches into her purse and grins before putting her cell phone to her ear.

“Hello? No, I’m not at home. No, I didn’t sleepover at Eric’s,” she rolls her eyes. “I am with him though. Octavia’s about to order a brownie sundae. No, I’m not bringing you food. Ha! No shit. Yeah, I’m glad I picked vanilla too after hearing that. I’ll be home in a little while. Yeah. Okay. Double shot? Right. See you soon.” Sookie hangs up and tucks her phone back in her bag.

“I am very intrigued by like half of that conversation,” I tell her. I ordered while she was talking.

“Well the reviews are in,” she smirks.

“Huh… he’s my friend and I kinda don’t want to… can you tell me?” I want to be able to give him shit.

“I’ll just say she compared him to a basset hound and a jackhammer. Not good,” she says with a shake of her head.

I laugh. Hard.

“Now will you tell me why you’re glad you picked vanilla?” I ask once I calm down. I have a feeling I know, but I want to hear her say it.

“I didn’t have to get licked by chocolate all night,” she says.

“No, there’s always…” I stop myself from saying anything too inappropriate. “I ordered extra caramel sauce on the sundae,” I say instead.

“Okay,” she says with a questioning look.

“You already caught me checking you out. I don’t want to offend you too,” I blush. “Unless you want me to tell you when I think dirty things about you.”

“If you do, will it make you turn more colors?”

“Possibly,” I say quietly and put my head down. I hate being so goddamn pale and Scandinavian.

“Awww I think it’s cute that you blush,” she says. “But you don’t have to say it. I wouldn’t want you to be permanently red.”

I take a deep breath and look into her eyes. “I was simply going to offer to lick you later today if you wanted me to… more or less.” I’m sure my face is the color of a tomato.

Sookie smiles at me and then leans over the table. Her eyes shift toward my ex and then she licks my lips.

Oh…

I think I like this plan.

“Do it again,” I whisper.

Sookie smiles at me and does it again without taking her eyes off of mine. I gently cup the back of her head and my tongue peeks out, licking hers. She tastes like coffee, and I love it. With one final lick I pull back, but I make sure my hand lands in hers.

“Thank you,” I say softly.

“You’re welcome,” she says with a sincere smile. “And just so you know, she didn’t like what she saw.”

“She who?” I smirk. I don’t know if Sookie did it to make Tara jealous or if she really wanted to lick me, but it really doesn’t matter. She made me feel something I didn’t expect to feel for a long time, and not just a hard-on.

2

Breakeven 2 Eric

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