I quickly found out that my homeowner’s insurance did cover theft, but I wouldn’t be completely reimbursed for my personal property. I was going to be out thousands of dollars replacing everything. An adjuster was going to come out to look at the damages, and an assessment would be made. That meant I couldn’t start hiring people to come out and replace the windows or paint or go out and buy new furniture. It was stressful and it was eating at me.
I should have seen it coming. My life never stayed good for too long. People accused me of being cynical, but I had a long list of sketchy shit to point to that explained why.
Eric was doing his best to help me. He was putting up with me and trying to keep me from going over the deep end. I appreciated what he was doing. Truly, no one else had ever even thought about putting in the effort he did. That cynical voice that was usually in the back of my mind was coming to the front, and it had me wondering how long it would be before Eric came to his senses and dumped me.
They all do sooner or later.
I was at my house sweeping up broken glass when Kennedy showed up to pick up some of her stuff that was salvageable. Thankfully, most of her stuff was boxed in the garage and hadn’t been messed with.
“Hey,” I said when she got to the top of the stairs.
“Hey, how’s it going?”
“I’ve been better. I’m sorry your stuff got messed up,” I told her. “I never should have called Hadley back.”
“You thought you were doing a good thing, Sookie. I don’t blame you for this,” she said. “If I ever see her on the street you better believe I’m whoopin’ her ass, though.”
“I wouldn’t try to stop you.” I knelt down with a dustpan to scoop up some glass. “So it turns out I’m going to be on the hook for a lot of money I don’t really have. I might have to cut my losses and sell the house.”
“Honestly, it might not be a bad idea. I love the house, but Hadley knows where you live now and who’s to say she’s not going to come back.”
“I didn’t even think of that.” I dropped the dustpan and tried not to burst into another round of tears. I had finally reached my breaking point.
“Shit,” Kennedy cursed. She moved closer so she could wrap me in a tight hug.
“I don’t know what the hell I’m doing anymore, Kennedy. Why does shit like this happen to me? I don’t understand what I’m putting out in the world to get this back.”
She squeezed me tighter. “I don’t know, honey. You’re a wonderful person.”
“I wish I could believe that. Now I’m fucking up Eric’s life too. It’s not fair to him.”
“How in the hell are you fucking up Eric’s life?”
“I’m taking up space at his place and yes, he offered, but I know he doesn’t want me living there. He’s just trying to help. I appreciate it, I do, but I don’t want to be someone’s problem, you know? I don’t want anyone to feel like they have to fix me,” I explained.
Kennedy laughed humorlessly. “Sookie, yes, Eric wants to help you. He cares about you. I think you’re insane if you think he views this as a problem. The two of you spent almost every night together anyway. I don’t know him well, but I’ve figured out he’s not one to mince words. If he didn’t want you there he’d tell you so.”
“I’ve got more issues than Life Magazine, Kennedy. He’s going to get fed up with me sooner or later. They all do.” I crouched down to resume scooping up glass.
“Or he’s the real deal.”
“Like Danny was the real deal?”
“No. He’s way different than Danny. I’ve seen the way Eric looks at you. The sun rises and sets outta your ass for that man.”
“I don’t think this is a short term thing, honey. Has anyone ever treated you the way he does? I wish I could find a man to do that kind of stuff for me. He’s a good man, Sook. He cares about you a lot. I don’t think this is a temporary thing.”
I dumped the glass in the trashcan. It was still the beginning of the relationship. Of course we looked at each other with hearts in our eyes. That didn’t last. Even in the best of circumstances, it didn’t last. My judgement was obviously shit.
“Just make sure you get me a list of what’s ruined or missing so I can give it to the insurance company,” I told her.
“I will. I think I’m going to get an apartment. I’ve been looking. Staying with Sahara is not a good thing.”
“Sorry about that,” I frowned.
“She has weird habits. It’s time to live on my own anyway.”
“At least it’s a place to crash until you find a place of your own. Maybe it’s time for me to get out of dancing and out of Los Angeles,” I sighed. I’d been thinking about it. Maybe the burglary was a sign I should get out.
“I’m fine with the dancing. I also like living here,” she said. “Are you thinking about leaving?”
“That’s what I just said, isn’t it?”
“It’s okay. I’m going to get back to cleaning.”
“Do you need any help?”
“No, I’ll take care of it. Thanks though.”
“Okay. I’m going to grab a few things and then get going.”
“Okay.” I turned back to the glass and kept sweeping.
Once I got as much of the glass up as I could, I decided to pick up the books that had been knocked off the coffee table. A few of them were burned or painted or ripped up. One of the books was about geography and some of the oldest cities around the world. It got me thinking maybe I’d fix up the house, put it on the market and then go ghost for a while.
I really liked Eric, but it was apparent to me that the dark clouds would always follow me. Minimizing collateral damage was something I could do. I was just tired of always being on the look out for the next disaster and I didn’t want Eric to get sucked into the whirlwind. He was a good guy. He deserved better than that. He deserved better than me.
“So I think I’m going to quit dancing,” I told Eric. I’d been thinking about it for the last week. An adjuster had been out to the house and I was going to be getting a check to cover the house repairs, as well as some of the expenses to replace my personal belongings. It wasn’t going to cover everything, but that didn’t matter. The house was going on the market anyway.
“Oh yeah? Have you decided what you plan on doing?”
“I think I’m going to travel,” I told him.
“I hope you plan on having a travel companion,” he replied. He reached over to twirl the ends of my hair.
“Not particularly,” I replied. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and if I sell my house I can finally afford to do it.”
“So you plan on leaving me, or doing a long distance thing?”
“I don’t know. Maybe we just see how things go. You’d probably find someone with less drama in like two seconds anyway,” I said. I could tell that pissed him off.
“I don’t want to find anyone else, Sookie,” he told me. “I don’t give a flying fuck what kind of drama you have in your life. I want to be there to meet it head on with you. I found what I want. I didn’t invite you to stay here out of pity. I like you, hell, I’m halfway to loving you. The thought of you leaving, and telling me I can find someone better does not sit well with me.”
“Well I don’t know if you’re what I want,” I said quietly.
“Seriously?” He was definitely pissed now. “Are you just saying that so I’ll let you go without a fight?”
“What difference does it make?” I couldn’t look him in the eye. I tried, but couldn’t do it.
“It makes all the difference. The fact that you’re not looking me in the eye tells me everything I need to know. I don’t want you to go, Sookie. I want you here. I love having you in my home with me. I love watching TV with you and eating tacos on Mondays instead of Tuesday. It makes a difference, because I’m different. I know parts of you that I know you never intended to show me. I’ve seen your hand, Sookie, and I’m still in the game. This isn’t just a fling for me.”
“Look, Eric, it’s not that I don’t care about you. It’s just… my whole life has been a string of disasters. If I wasn’t being abused by my uncle, it was my dad, and then I thought I got away from it only to end up with a guy who liked to hit me too,” I told him. “All my life it’s been a struggle for me just to exist or survive my situation. I’m tired of it. I thought maybe whatever curse was on me had been lifted. Then Hurricane Hadley blew in and turned everything inside out. I’m not safe here. Not anymore.”
“Then we’ll go somewhere else. Your family is out of your life for good now. You can quit your job and take time to figure out what you want to do. I’m fine with that. I’m not letting you go without a fight.”
“You have a good thing going here, Eric. Don’t throw it away for me.” It would end up being just another thing on my list of regrets and things that could have been prevented if I just stayed away.
“I can find a job anywhere. I don’t plan on doing porn forever. Now’s a good a time to stop as any,” he said. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Look me in the eye and tell me you don’t want me and I’ll accept this shitty fucking decision you just decided to make.”
I took a deep breath and made myself look him in the eye. It was true we’d had a good thing going and there was potential with him. Maybe in a different life I’d even marry him and reconsider my stance on kids. He’d probably be a great dad. He deserved to have that with someone who wanted to be a good mom. We never talked about kids or marriage or what we wanted in our futures. Sex was what we talked about the most. Relationships built on that didn’t last, right?
“I… I don’t…” I couldn’t say the whole sentence for some reason. My mouth just wouldn’t make the words.
“Yes you do,” he whispered, reaching up to tuck my hair behind my ear.
“You’re only going to get hurt with me,” I whispered back because my voice wouldn’t get louder.
“That’s a chance I’m willing to take.” Those clear, blue green eyes were locked onto mine. “To me, you’re worth it.”
“I’m not,” I shook my head.
“I’m going to try to prove to you every day that you are,” he countered.
“You’re too much, Eric,” I said. I didn’t even realize I was crying until he wiped tears off my cheeks with his thumbs.
“I think I’m what you need in your life right now,” he replied. He leaned forward to kiss my forehead. “I knew it was real when my mother asked if I’d quit the business for you and I answered yes without hesitation.”
“You would be crazy to quit for me,” I sniffled.
“Every day,” he whispered. He dropped his hands down to grab my hips so he could pull me onto his lap. Those strong arms wrapped around me, holding me tight to his chest.
“I’m okay with that.”
I rested my head on his shoulder.
“I don’t know what to do with myself, Eric. Nothing feels right but you.” That was the truth. It was easier for me to push him away than it was to let him in. How could I expect anything to change if I didn’t change? I had to start somewhere.
“Quit your job when you’re ready and take your time figuring it out.” He started playing with my hair. “You can stay here. I like waking up with you.”
“You mean live together?” I lifted my head to look at him. He looked pretty serious. There weren’t any traces of his silliness anywhere that I could see.
“Yes,” he answered. “I know it’s soon, but it feels right. Maybe after my birthday we can go experience fall in Warrenton.”
“And meet your mom,” I added. I assumed that was on the agenda. “Does she know I’m a stripper?” If she did, she was probably thrilled with it.
“She does. She also knows we met on set. She’s the kind of mom that knows you make me happy, so she’s happy for me,” Eric told me. “She does want to meet you too.”
“I’ve only ever met one mom before,” I told him. Quinn’s mom wasn’t all there mentally, so she had no opinion of me that I was aware of. Eric’s mom was another story, and I knew that she wasn’t happy with Eric’s career choices.
“I think it’s time to make it two,” he said. “She told me to give you a massage and cake after she learned you were a stripper. That should say something about the kind of woman she is.”
“Well most people don’t hate me until they meet me,” I joked.
“Says the woman that’s won the hearts of all my friends,” he chuckled.
“I’ve won their libidos,” I snickered. Tawny had sent me a few suggestive text messages since the party. She was persistent, I’d give her that.
“That too,” he smiled. “I can only imagine what kind of messages Tawny has sent, given the nature of the messages I’ve received about you.”
“They’re pretty racy,” I admitted.
“Do they turn you on?”
“Maybe,” I said, the corner of my mouth lifting a little bit.
“I’m intrigued now. Has she sent you any pictures?” He shifted me on his lap.
“Only from the waist up.” That morning I got one of her sunbathing by a pool.
“She does have great tits,” he smiled.
“She does,” I agreed. They weren’t as large as mine, but if I had to guess I’d put her at a solid C cup, and they weren’t fake. “Would you like to see me play with them?”
Eric nodded slowly. “You girls would look great together. I’m sure you can feel what those mental images are doing to me.”
With the way I was positioned on his lap it was hard to ignore. I shifted so I was straddling him and reached into the shorts he was wearing to stroke him.
“So you would be happy to watch her go down on me and make me cum on her tongue?”
“Mmm, I would be. You wouldn’t be disappointed by her tongue. I’ve learned some of my tricks from her.”
“I could suck your cock while she plays with me,” I offered, moving his hand to my chest. “That way when I’m all wet and ready you can just slide into me nice and deep…”
“That sounds so fucking good, Lover,” he purred. He rubbed over my nipples through my top. He paused long enough to pull my shirt up so he could lean in to suckle my left nipple while he played with the right one.
My thumb rubbed over his swelling tip, making him groan. I stopped stroking him so he could pull my shirt over my head. We hadn’t fought before to necessitate makeup sex, but there was a first time for everything. I pulled his cock free of his shorts and kept stroking him. His lips crashed into mine and the next thing I knew we were on the floor. I was trying to wiggle out of my shorts with Eric’s help.
“I’m sorry I’m a dumbass sometimes,” I apologized, trying to catch my breath a little.
“I appreciate it. I’m not sorry I plan to spoil you.” My shorts went flying. He hooked my legs over his arms and leaned forward, folding me in half. “I plan to show you what you mean, and what you’re worth, every chance I get.”
“Right now just show me who I belong to,” I requested.
He gave me a sexy little smirk as he slid into me, getting nice and deep. With my legs pushed back he had plenty of room to move. As he thrust in and out his hips swiveled slightly.
“Play with your tits,” he growled.
“Yes, sir.” I cupped my breasts for a moment before my fingers found my nipples. I plucked and pinched them as they bounced with his hard thrusts. “Mmm… you feel so good, baby,” I breathed. The angle was perfect and he was getting crazy deep.
“So do you.” He released one of my legs, but it ended up on his shoulder. He used his fingers to rub over my clit, trying to give me a little extra friction. “I’m not going to last very long, Lover. You got me all worked up thinking about watching you with another woman.”
“Imagine her licking your cum out of my cunt,” I moaned. There was The Look.
“She’s only a call away,” he said. His fingers sped up, as did his hips. “I need to feel you cum for me. Now, Sookie.” I could tell he was getting really close.
“I’m so close, baby.” I moved his hand away from my clit. He watched my fingers move quickly and within seconds my walls were gripping his length. “Ohhhhh…. Oh fuck,” I moaned. “Eric… fuckfuckfuckfuck!”
“Good girl,” he breathed. He sat up on his knees, lifted my ass, and started to hammer into me until he exploded, filling me completely with his release. “Fuuuuck!” he roared as he came.
My lower half came into contact with the floor again. Eric didn’t quite collapse on top of me, but he did settle some of his weight on me. My arms wrapped around his ribs and I rubbed his back. Soft lips kissed my neck and shoulder. He was a good man. If nothing else good ever came into my life I decided I would be okay with that. Just once it seemed I had found someone who cared about me for me, and not the pretty package or the perceived glamour that came with dating a stripper. I liked him for him and not because he was a sex symbol. It was going to take some time to get that Negative Nelly back in the recesses of my mind, but I was going to make it happen. If Eric was going to fight for me, I could fight for him. Even if it meant fighting my worst enemy.