The second Eric opens the front door his eyes light up. Sophie’s got a giant tub of his beloved potato salad for him. He grins from ear to ear and reaches out to take the container from her.
“Hello to you too, son,” Senior says.
“Hey, Dad,” Eric says, waving him off.
“I’ll take that.” I snatch the container from Eric. “Say a proper hello to them so Senior can come get his hug.”
Eric tries to hide his pout, but gives his dad and big hug before moving on to Sophie.
“Hi, Mama,” he says and kisses Sophie’s cheek.
“Hi, honey,” she says as she steps inside. “Holy shit it doesn’t look like a dorm room in here anymore.”
“I wasn’t that bad,” Eric tries, but Senior snorts behind him.
“Son, you… no, this place was a hundred percent bachelor pad. Sookie, you’ve done well, Sweetheart. Now give me my hugs.”
Eric snatches the tub back and I get a bear hug from Senior.
“Honey, I love this haircut,” Sophie says. “It looks fantastic.”
“Thank you,” I reply when Senior lets go of me. “Your son started it for me.”
Senior looks at Eric like he knows exactly what he did.
“Why would you start her haircut?”
“She put icy hot inside my boxers,” Eric shrugs.
“He put ‘property of Eric Northman’ patches on the seat of all my pants,” I say in my own defense.
“How do you think he got those patches so fast, Princess?” Senior winks.
I gasp and say, “I thought you were on my side.”
“I love you, Sookie, but Eric is my kid. Who do you think taught him this shit?”
I laugh and say, “Babe, you should show him the picture of Herbert I sent you.”
Senior narrows his eyes and says, “Oh, I saw that.”
“Sook, Dad loves Herbert more than I do.”
“Thank God that stupid thing lives here,” Sophie rolls her eyes.
“Oh its days here are numbered,” I tell her.
“You’ve lost your mind, woman,” Eric tells me and wraps his arms around my shoulders to give me a kiss. I know when Sophie sees the ring by the gasp she let’s out.
“Eric Thomas, did you get married?” Sophie grabs his hand to stare at the ring. Her eyes shift to my hand and she finds it ringless.
“No, Mother. You would know if I got married. We invited you over to tell you Sookie proposed,” he smiles. He looks over at me and gives me a little wink.
“Shut the front fucking door,” Sophie says. She’s obviously surprised.
“I will not,” I laugh. “I asked and he said yes.”
“I told you he’d be a fool not to,” Senior throws in and Sophie whips her head around to glare at him.
“You knew about this? You knew and didn’t tell me?” Uh oh.
“I asked him not to say anything,” I offer.
“Plus I wanted to let Eric tell you. It’s his thing, not mine. Sookie simply asked me if she could marry my son. Clearly I said yes.”
“You said yes?” Sophie looks to Eric just to be sure.
“I did. I forgot to answer her at first though,” he smiles. “I would marry this girl ten times over again.”
“Oh! I’ll get her a chair of her own and then Herbert won’t be so out of place,” Senior says.
“I’d prefer a blow torch,” I snicker.
“I’m starting to rethink saying yes,” Senior grumbles.
“Awww, Senior, you’ll change your mind when there are more little Northmans to play with,” I say sympathetically. “Can I get either of you something to drink… laxative-free, of course,” I smile at Eric.
“I’m fine. I brought my own.” Senior pulls a six pack out of the bag he’s holding and starts to walk into the kitchen.
“Pizza should be here any minute,” Eric tells him and then asks, “Can you bring me a spoon when you come back?”
“He means a shovel,” I correct.
“I’m on it,” Senior says.
“So, Mom, are you okay with this?” Eric asks Sophie as he pulls me close.
“Of course I’m okay with this. I just want you to be happy, honey, and Sookie… well, God bless you,” she says and I laugh.
“He’s not that bad.” I nudge Eric with my hip.
“Mom, you married a Northman man once,” Eric reminds her. “You’re still alive to tell the tale.”
“And it has taken thirty years to train him,” she laughs.
“I’m house broken, that would’ve been the hardest task. It’ll be smooth sailing from here.”
“Except for the laundry training.”
“I think that’s a genetic trait,” Sophie says.
“Nobody gets my whites more white,” Senior says as he walks back into the room and plops down next to his wife.
I laugh and say, “Well in Eric’s defense, I can’t cook, so we balance things out.”
“Oh honey, you bring your little behind over to my house and we’ll have that boy chubby in no time,” Sophie says.
“Are you calling me skinny?” Eric asks. He works hard for the body he has.
“You’re a little thin,” his mom says.
“Then I better get you that shovel,” I wink at Eric and go to the kitchen to get him spoons for his potato salad and a plate for Senior so they can share.
The doorbell rings and when I get back to the living room there are two large pizzas sitting on the coffee table.
“Sit, Babe, I’ll get you something to drink,” Eric tells me.
“Thanks.” I smile and kneel down on the floor by the coffee table.
“So have you set a date yet?” Sophie asks.
“Not officially, but we’re thinking next summer since Eric will have the time off for it,” I say as Senior opens the pizza boxes.
“Are you guys planning to do it here or are you going to Louisiana to do it?” Senior asks. Eric comes back with plates for everyone and a beer for me.
“Thanks, Schmoopy,” I smile at him. “We haven’t talked about it yet, but I’d rather do it here. Trying to plan an out of state wedding sounds like a bit of a nightmare to me.”
“I’m sure Soph will have a blast trying to talk you into different things. I had no idea what I was in store for when we got married. I was told where to stand and what to say,” Senior says, looking at Sophie with a secret smile. “I was in change of the honeymoon, and your fiancé showed up around nine months later.”
“So it was a honeymoon put to good use,” I laugh.
“I needed a vacation from the vacation,” Sophie says.
Eric laughs and says, “I think Sookie needs a vacation from last Tuesday.”
“That’s my boy,” Senior winks.
“Eric!” I nudge him.
“I love you,” he grins and leans over to kiss my temple.
“Sookie, don’t worry about it. You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive,” Sophie says casually. “Before Senior and I got married we fu–“
“Sophie,” Senior growls, making Sophie shiver. God. “We don’t need to tell them how flexible you are.”
The look on Eric’s face is priceless.
“I caught a glimpse of that on the fourth,” I snicker.
“You know, as many times as I’ve caught it, it still makes me cringe.” Eric takes a bite of his pizza and groans a little.
“You should’ve learned after the first time, kid,” Senior shrugs.
Sophie and Senior are so different from my parents. Mom and Dad are pretty relaxed but they don’t discuss their sex life with Jason and me, and I’m fine with that. The four of us have a nice dinner together and then Sophie starts telling me about this computer program she can get to make our wedding invitations for us. I nod along, but Senior and Eric are trying to hide their chuckles.
Eric’s parents don’t leave until we promise to come to their place for dinner next week. Sophie insists I keep her up to date on wedding plans and as soon as they’re gone, I grab my phone to call my folks so Sophie can’t tell them first.
When Sookie calls her parents it’s on speaker. I’m so glad now that I’ve met them. I don’t know how I would’ve done on the phone with them telling them I’m marrying their daughter.
“Hello?” Michelle answers on the third ring.
“Hi, Mom. You’re on speaker. Eric’s here too,” Sookie says.
“Hi, Michelle,” I say and I hope she can hear my smile.
“Hi, honey. How are you guys?”
“We’re great. Sophie and Senior just left. We have some news for you. Is Daddy home?”
“Yeah, I’ll go find him,” Michelle says and I hear her set the phone down.
“Are you nervous?” I ask Sookie while we wait.
“Not really,” she shrugs. “I’d be more nervous if Sophie told her before I could. She’d be on mother-in-law timeout.”
“Nah, she’s probably giving us twenty-four hours,” I chuckle.
“I hope so,” Sookie whispers.
I give her a kiss and while we’re snuggling her parents come back.
“Here, Dad’s with me,” Michelle says.
“Hi kids,” Corbett says.
“Hi, Daddy,” Sookie says.
“Hey, Corbett,” I greet him and thread my fingers with Sookie’s.
“Okay, I guess you guys have something to tell us since you wanted Daddy here too. Is it babies? Please tell me you’re giving us grandkids,” Michelle says excitedly.
“Hang on there, Michelle. Aren’t you getting ahead of yourself?” Corbett says.
“Well there might be babies, but not yet,” Sookie tells them.
“Michelle, don’t you want me to at least marry her first?” I chuckle.
“That would be nice, but grandkids would be more fun.”
“Well that just sucks all the excitement out of what I called to tell you,” Sookie says.
“Oh, hush, tell us. Your dad has man things to do he says.”
Sookie rolls her eyes.
“Then I’ll make it quick. I asked Eric to marry me,” Sookie reveals.
“Baby girl, that’s what ugly girls do,” Corbett says.
I snort and say, “She just beat me to the punch.”
I wasn’t planning on proposing just yet, but I can guarantee it would’ve happened sooner or later.
“Did you say yes?” Corbett asks, “Or do I need to resurrect the plan I had for the Turd?”
“Of course I said yes. This girl is the best thing to ever happen to me.”
“Oh, this is very exciting. I need to call Sophie so we can start planning. How soon do you plan on getting married? I expect my first grandkid within the first year.” Michelle is a bit excited.
“Wow, can you imagine the reaction when we tell her we’re pregnant?” Sookie asks me, completely ignoring her mom.
“It’s cute, sugar plum,” I smile.
“There’s no rush on that baby, Sookie,” Corbett says, and then grunts. “Dammit, Michelle…”
“We don’t have that many good spoiling years left,” she scolds him. “The quicker, the better.”
“Well we haven’t made any decisions about kids yet, so don’t get too squirrelly over the idea,” Sookie tells her.
“I want a few years with my wife before I knock her up,” I tell them. “If we had kids right away I wouldn’t be upset, but I believe spending a few years learning everything there is to know about each other is a better idea than popping out kids and then figuring out we won’t work.”
“Well y’all should figure that out before you get married,” Corbett says.
“That’s why we’re not running off to Vegas for a quickie wedding,” Sookie says. “The absolute soonest we’ll get married is next summer, but we haven’t set a date yet. And before you ask, Mom, the wedding is going to be here.”
“But it’s so much prettier here,” Michelle whines.
“Yeah, we don’t have humidity,” I remind her and that shuts her up quickly.
“Plus I can’t be flying back and forth to check on things for the wedding. I know you want to help, but it’s my wedding. I want to plan it,” Sookie says firmly.
“Don’t worry, baby girl, I’ll keep her on a short leash,” Corbett says.
“Thanks. I have to reel in my mom too,” I snicker.
“It’s just cake and flowers,” Corbett says casually. “I don’t see the big fuss.”
“It’s way more than that,” Michelle scolds.
“Daddy, you have a Y chromosome. I think that about sums it up,” Sookie chuckles.
“Don’t let him fool you. He cried when we got married,” Michelle points out.
Sookie laughs and says, “Oh I know. Gran told me he’s a secret crier.”
“Gran was senile,” Corbett says quickly.
I lean over and whisper to Sookie, “You aren’t going to tease me if I cry, right?”
“Not for at least twenty years,” she whispers back. “I might tell Herbert, though.”
“He’s good at keeping secrets,” I wink.
“He better be with all the duct tape over his mouth.”
“You just wait, Princess,” I threaten. “Michelle, I think my mom is waiting for your call.”
“Yeah, I’m sure she is,” Sookie says. “I’ll call you in a few days, Mom.”
“I love you, baby girl. Congratulations, you two,” Corbett says.
“Love you, sweetie. You too, Eric,” Michelle says.
“Have fun guys,” I tell them, “I promise to be on more calls.”
“Bye guys,” Sookie says and then hangs up.
“Are you ready for bed?” I ask. After our sex earlier I’m sure she’s beat.
“Almost. I think I need ice cream first.”
“I’ll get it for you if you want. Stay put,” I say and hop up from the couch.
I go into the kitchen and get her a bowl of her chocolate chunk. I grab her a spoon and take it back to her on the couch. She’s lying on the couch flipping through the channels.
“Here.” I set the bowl down next to her.
“Thanks, Babe,” she smiles and sits up some, propping her legs on my lap.
“Want to put on a movie?” I offer and begin to rub one of her feet. I’m being careful not to tickle her.
“Sure.” Sookie hands over the remote and adds, “You pick.”
I use the remote to go through the movies on demand.
“Something scary? Halloween is in two months,” I say.
“Nothing with demons.”
“So… The Omen is out? Maybe The Exorcist?”
I start flipping through the ‘scary’ movies. I haven’t seen something really scary in a long time.
“The Nightmare on Elm Street? Johnny Depp is in it,” I suggest.
“I know. I’ve seen it,” she says before taking a big bite of her ice cream.
“Well, that’s no fun. How about… Paranormal Activity. Have you seen that one?”
“I said no demons.”
“That’s ghosts, isn’t it? I’ve never seen it so I don’t know. Oh, The Others. Definitely not demons.”
“I saw it and it sucked. I figured it out in ten minutes so it wasn’t even scary.”
“You suck,” I tease and run my fingertips down her foot.
“Don’t start with that,” Sookie jerks her feet away.
“Spoil sport. We have IT as an option.”
“Play it,” she says.
I hit play and tell her, “You know it has a clown. You’re okay with clowns right?”
“I’ve seen it before. I’m okay with it.”
I sit back and start to watch the movie. I fall asleep within ten minutes.
♦ ♦ ♦
The first day back at school is always hectic. New kids, parents that want to talk to me again. Felicia still won’t leave me alone. That is the only part that bugs me. She spent the day eyeing my ring and bending over to pick up things she ‘dropped’ anytime we were in the same room together. If she keeps it up I’m turning her ass in for sexual harassment.
I get home a little before Sookie. It’s nice coming home, knowing I have something to look forward to. Someone in this case.
I decide to take her out to dinner. I’m too tired to cook and Sookie still has trouble burning things when I’m not looking. I truly have no idea how she does it. I’m out of my work clothes, wearing some jeans and a t-shirt with no shoes or socks when Sookie gets home.
“Hey, Honeysuckle,” I greet her when she walks in through the garage. “I was thinking we can go out to dinner. I’m exhausted after today.”
“Nope, we’re staying in,” she tells me. She’s carrying a bunch of bags from the grocery store. “How was your first day of school, Mr. Northman?”
She stops to give me a kiss before I say, “Good, hectic. If Felicia keeps it up I’ll be filing a sexual harassment suit against her.”
“Hmmm… maybe I need to pay a visit to Senior for some ‘property of Sookie’ patches for your pants,” she snickers and sets the bags on the counter to start unpacking.
“What do you have there?” I ask, nodding toward the bags.
“Ingredients,” she smiles. “Mama multitasked our wedding planning meeting last night.”
“You’re now looking at the only other person who knows the recipe for her potato salad.”
My mouth begins to water.
“So…” I open the bag and see the potatoes. “I’ll be a little more in love with you if you pull this off.”
“Oh ye of little faith all of a sudden,” Sookie says. “Plus I can now make a patty melt.”
“Sookie, I blinked and you dropped a bowl of beaten eggs on the floor. I’m going to trust you on this, though.” I reach into the fridge and grab a beer since we’re staying in.
“You can call Senior and ask him. We made a delivery to the firehouse for his whole crew last night,” she tells me.
“And I was stuck with leftovers. Lovely,” I tease. “Is it safe to assume we’re having patty melts too?”
“Yup. Yours will have bacon on it.”
“I think I’m going to throw Mrs. Northman into the pet name rotation if I take a bite and they’re as good as Mom’s.”
“I learned from the master, so they should be. Now get the hell out of my kitchen,” she winks at me.
“Your kitchen?” I ask, quirking an eyebrow.
“Yup, my kitchen. Sophie says I’m allowed to whack you with a wooden spoon if you get in the way,” she giggles.
“Come on, let me stay,” I plead with puppy dog eyes. The same ones Dad gives.
“Nope. Out you go.”
“I won’t even watch you mix the ingredients. I just want to see you work,” I plead.
“Then what’s the point?”
“Baby doll, this is a big deal. I want to see how the master taught you what I couldn’t. You’ve been working under me for months, and you can barely toast bread.”
“You said you were going to trust me, so trust me,” she says.
“Fine,” I pout. I give her a big kiss and then go to the living room. I flip on one of my video games and I veg out for about thirty minutes. The smells coming from the kitchen are amazing, which is a shocker. I promised to trust her and so far it smells trustworthy enough.
“Is it done yet?!” I call out when my stomach starts to rumble.
“Not yet!” Sookie calls back. “Maybe another half hour!”
Fuck. I want a snack.
“Can I come in and get some chips or something?!”
“No, you can wait for dinner!”
I can hear something sizzling in the kitchen.
“Do you want white bread or marble rye?” Sookie peeks around the corner. She tosses me an apple.
“Thanks. I’ll take rye, please,” I say and take a bite of the apple.
“You got it.”
“You’re a doll. How about you get in here and kiss me?”
“I have a meal to make without burning it. Don’t distract me,” she says and goes back to the kitchen.
I pout to myself and finish the apple. I take the core to the outside garbage so I don’t ‘distract’ her. While I’m out I take the can down to the curb. I wave at the neighbors and face back in when Mack Rattray tries to come talk to me. That man disgusts me. I go to the bathroom to wash my hands and look at the clock. Twenty more minutes to go.
“Can I come watch yet?” I ask as I walk down the hallway.
“You’ll get over it when you taste this, you big baby!”
“But I love you!” I whine.
“I love you too and no means no!”
“Damn you, woman!”
“Waaah, waaah, waaah,” she fake cries.
I go back to the living room. I look back toward the kitchen every few seconds, but she never emerges. Finally she shows her face and I grin. My stomach is doing a happy dance and I’m ready to bowl her over to get to the food.
“Is it ready?”
“Are you here to kiss me and distract me from my hunger?” I ask and pucker my lips.
“No, I’m here to tell you it sucks you’re banned from the kitchen because that potato salad is the most amazing food ever made,” she smirks. “You’ll be lucky if I share.”
“I’m super cute, though. Why wouldn’t you share?” I ask and I pucker my lips again.
“Because I’m an evil woman.”
“Indeed you are,” I sigh. “How much longer till it’s ready?”
She giggles and says, “Oh it’s ready. I just like teasing you.”
Sookie cackles and runs back into the kitchen.
I race after her and stop dead in my tracks when I see a plate on the table with my meal. I take a quick glance around the kitchen to make sure nothing is burned or there’s no blood anywhere. All looks good.
“It’s because I make out with you while we cook, isn’t it?” Six months I’ve been trying to teach her and nothing has worked. One night with my mom and she’s Wolfgang Puck.
“That’s a big part of it,” she says. “Plus I don’t want to stare at your mom’s ass constantly.”
“It’s a good thing Senior wasn’t there. You might have been distracted by his ass,” I tease.
She snorts and says, “I doubt it.”
Sookie picks up a plate with a perfectly toasted patty melt on it and hands it to me. I take it to the table and sit down. She sets a beer in front of me. She grabs the big bowl of potato salad and sets that on the table too. I pick up my sandwich and I can feel her eyes on me as I take my first bite.
I don’t say anything as I chew. She watches me the entire time. Sookie sits down at the table with her own plate and grabs a big spoonful of the potato salad.
“I won’t judge until I taste that,” I say, nodding to the potato salad.
“Maybe I shouldn’t let you have any just in case you think it’s awful.”
“Do you want to know what I think of this?” I ask and take another bite.
“Sure.” Sookie takes a bite of her sandwich.
“It’s delicious, Baby doll. I can’t wait to try the potato salad.” I lean over the table and kiss her on the lips.
She spears one of her potato chunks and offers it to me.
I take the bite and my eyes roll back. It’s not quite my mom’s, but it’s well on its way.
“I would’ve proposed if you hadn’t done it already,” I say and reach for the bowl so I can take a scoop to throw it on my plate.
“You’ll marry any girl with good potato salad,” she teases.
“Nope, just the cute little blond girl sitting right here,” I smile and kiss her again. “You’re amazing for this, Sookie. I love you.”
“I love you too. I’m glad I didn’t fuck up.”
“It’s a little different, but it reminds me of Grandma LeClerq’s. Mom’s has always been a little different from Grandma’s. Either way, I love it.” I’m going to expect this almost every day now.
“I used one different ingredient from what your mom uses,” she admits.
“Let me guess, you’re not going to tell me?”
“I used scallions and your mom uses something else. I like scallions better.”
“Sounds about right. Mom doesn’t know Grandma gave me the recipe years ago, but I would rather have mom make it,” I tell her.
“I would too. Hers is better.”
“This was your first time. Yours will get better.” I reach over and grab her hand. “Either way it’s amazing.”
“Thank you,” she smiles. “I have another burger for you if you want another.”
“We’ll see if I finish the potato salad.” Who am I kidding? We both know I’m going to devour it.
“If?” My girl knows me well.
“Fine. You know I’ll eat whatever you don’t.”
“Then it’s a good thing I set some off to the side for your lunch tomorrow,” she winks.
“I could get used to this,” I chuckle. “What did you and Mom figure out for the wedding?” By the time she got home I was already in bed.
“I told her I don’t want to see anything pink. Anywhere. She mostly tried to talk me into letting her do the invitations.”
“That’s not bad. I would’ve expected her to push for getting the cake, flowers, your dress, my tux… pretty much everything. Should we look at a calendar and pick a date?”
“Oh we did that too. She wanted me to set a date without you,” Sookie laughs. “You know, since you just have to show up.”
“What? What if I make other plans for whatever day she picks for me?” I joke.
“I told her you might have a date with your husband already,” she snorts. “But I was thinking the end of June, if that’s good for you. Then we’ll have plenty of time to travel.”
“The last day of school is June thirteenth. How about the next weekend. The twenty-first should be the next Saturday,” I suggest.
“Are you going to be able to talk Al out of a bachelor party for you? You could have it the twenty-first and then we could get married the next weekend,” Sookie counters. “I know I’m not going to be able to get out of a bachelorette party with Dawn and my cousin Hadley standing up.”
“That’s fine. I wasn’t even worried about a bachelor party. You’re right though, the Mister will require I have one. Are you okay if naked women are involved? He’s going to insist on strippers.”
“As long as you get nothing more than a lap dance, you’re good.”
“Damn, I was looking forward to a handjob,” I tease.
“You get one from a stripper and it’ll be the last sexual contact you have with a woman for a long, long time,” she warns.
“Your hands are the only hands I want on my cock for as long as I live,” I promise.
“I won’t tell Al you said that,” she smirks.
“If Al ever got one of your handjobs he’d understand. You better not ever touch him in a sexual way or else I’ll kill you both,” I inform her.
“That’s not even close to being a problem.”
“Good.” I take the last bite of my first sandwich and reach for the whole bowl of potato salad.
I end up finishing the second patty melt, most of the potato salad and a bowl of ice cream before Sookie and I go out to the living room to watch a movie. Sookie cooking dinner is a huge deal, and if I didn’t already know she loved me, I’d believe she does now.