Preston is a very good looking man. He’s the right amount of tan to make his tawny eyes pop and his brown hair has a slightly reddish tint to it. He’s also not a bad dancer. By that I mean he can keep up with me and his hands haven’t gone anywhere inappropriate, unlike Slappy McGee behind the bar.
I’m not sure what Eric was thinking when he did that but it was completely not okay. I get the memories coming back thing but I may as well be a stranger to him now. Eric knows nothing about my life. For all he knows I’m married with nine kids. About an hour into our night out Tara has to leave because Mrs. Fortenberry can’t handle Sara’s screeching like a tea kettle. At two hours in I’m officially bombed and Hadley has to go because Hunter has developed a stomach bug that’s causing him to… well, it’s a both ends situation. Dawn is about to disappear with the guy she found before Jess and I arrived.
That is until she suddenly yells, “I smell bacon!”
Bacon? There’s bacon here? I want bacon!
I start looking around for the strips of crispy, salty heaven but I don’t see any. What I do see is my brother and a wavy clone coming toward me.
“Uh oh! 5-0 is here!” I snicker.
“What’s goin’ on here?” Jason asks in his stern cop voice as he approaches Preston and me on the floor.
“Preston here is my dance partner this fine evenin’, and keepin’ Eric Northman from puttin’ fresh handprints on my ass,” I answer. Jason knows exactly who Eric is.
“Sook, I think you’ve had a little too much if you’re imaginin’ Eric Northman,” my brother snorts.
“He’s behind the bar, Kojak.”
Jason looks back toward the bar before returning his gaze on me. His eyes quickly dart to Preston and he growls, “You slip my baby sister a mickey, slick?”
“A what? No,” Preston answers.
“Jase, the only thing he’s slipped me is his tongue,” I pipe up. Preston’s not a bad kisser.
Jason’s hand starts to fly, ready to take Preston down for touching me when he’s stopped by Eric’s hand around his wrist.
“No fighting in the bar, Stackhouse,” Eric chuckles.
Jason’s eyes go wide when his eyes settle on Eric. “What the fuck are you doing here?”
“Stopping you from ruining your sister’s good time,” Eric answers. He looks at me apologetically as he let’s go of Jason’s wrist.
“He’s not gonna do shit,” I say. “Preston didn’t do anything I wasn’t okay with, Jason.”
Jason huffs. He’s still having a hard time with me being an adult. He’s always been a little too protective of me. Sometimes I think that’s why he became a sheriff.
“Now, do I have to 86 you?” Eric asks my brother.
“I’m just here to see the pretty redhead,” he says, glancing over at Jess.
“You should propose to her, Columbo,” I tell him.
“You need to lay off the sauce,” he snorts. Eric walks away, leaving us alone once he realizes Jason has calmed down. I notice he slips into the employee door and doesn’t go behind the bar again.
“Seriously, Commissioner Gordon, you should before someone else does. I’m so drunk I might,” I admit with a giggle.
“How much have you had to drink?”
“Not so much that I couldn’t steal your woman.” I love the glare I get for saying that. “Preston do you like threeways?”
Preston’s eyes go wide as Jason growls.
“I’d rather think about you with fucknut than with my girl and another dude,” Jason tells me.
“You’re going to have to specify which fucknut. The cheater, the one that slapped me around–”
“You know what I mean.” Jason doesn’t like reliving the relationship hell I’ve been through. Poor Preston looks like he wants to hide under a rock.
“Yeah, fine. Go talk to Big Red,” I tell him. I turn to Preston and apologize. “Sorry about that,” I say sincerely.
“It wasn’t weird at all,” he chuckles.
“Yes it was. How about another round?” I suggest.
“Hmm, I think I’m done drinking for the night. I’ll come with you if you want though.”
“We could… find a quiet after hours spot,” I suggest instead and lean in to kiss him. Sex wasn’t the plan but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea.
“We can do that,” he agrees, slightly pulling away from the kiss.
“Then let’s get going while Barney Fife is occupied.” I grab Preston’s hand and we head for the door. Unfortunately I’ve probably had more drinks than I should and my feet aren’t getting with the program. More than once Preston’s hands grip my hips to steady me so I don’t eat the floor.
“Hey,” I hear Eric’s voice coming from behind us as we get closer to the door.
“Goodnight, Mr. Allman,” I giggle. He kinda looked like Gregg Allman when we were in high school which is how he got the nickname Midnight Rider.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Eric asks Preston as he approaches us.
“The lady wanted to get out of here,” Preston smirks.
“The lady can’t even stand on her own,” Eric growls back. “I’m not letting you leave with her.”
“Eric, it’s fine. Preston is just going to take me home,” I assure him. My sex life isn’t his business.
“I’m sure that sounds like a lovely idea, Sookie, but I’m going to have to veto that. I know you’re going to be pissed now, but you’ll be thanking me later.”
“She said she wants to go. Now, run along,” Preston says, trying to shoo Eric away.
Of course Eric isn’t moving. He looks partially amused but mostly annoyed.
“It’s okay, Eric. I’m good,” I insist.
“Come on. You’re coming with me,” he says sternly, staring daggers at Preston.
“No she’s no–”
“Yes. She is. You can go now,” Eric tells Preston. As soon as his hands move from my hips I start to fall before I catch myself.
“Gravity is a bitch,” I giggle.
Eric wraps his arm around my back, holding me up. “Come on, we’re going to the office. I’ll get you some water,” he sighs as he starts to lead me through the bar that seems to be emptying.
“Jason and Jessica can take care of me,” I tell him. “Hey! Remember that time you got fucked up on Terry Bellefleur’s moonshine and ended up driving your dad’s truck into the Lambert Pond while we were fighting over who was going to drive?”
Daddy was soooo mad. I mean I ended up in the hospital needing eight stitches because of a cut on my arm and I had plenty of bumps and bruises from the accident. Eric and I were only sixteen then and had only gone on a handful of dates. Dad had forbidden me from seeing Eric again but of course it didn’t last. Bon Temps is a small town and we saw each other every day at school. On weekends I had no qualms about lying and saying I was going out with Hadley or Tara when I was really going out with Eric.
“Yeah, I remember.” He looks troubled by it instead of amused. He thought it was hilarious back then.
Honestly, now that I think about it, I might have dumped Eric a lot sooner than I did if Dad hadn’t tried to forbid me from seeing him. I was a defiant little shit who was smack dab in the middle of a rebellious streak. By the time I got out of it I was in love with Eric. We were different as night and day, he and I.
Eric looked like a leftover extra from Dazed and Confused with his long blonde hair hanging down to the middle of his back. He listened to classic rock and drove a shitbox Falcon that made Dad do that squinty thing he does when he disapproves of something. Eric also smoked cigarettes and weed regularly. He drank at parties or down at this old abandoned barn in Hot Shot with Felton and his former best friend, Andre Paul. I say former because Andre felt me up one time when I was practically pass out drunk at a party our senior year and Eric flipped out when he caught Andre with one hand under my shirt and the other in his jeans.
“Remember when Andre molested me?” I laugh because I’m drunk and not because it’s funny. The sad thing is that Andre wasn’t the first one to molest me. My great Uncle Bartlett had molested me several times from the ages of seven to ten. Eric is the only person I’ve ever told about it. I was too scared and ashamed to tell Dad or Gran as a kid. Then Bartlett died when I was seventeen so I didn’t see the point.
“All too clearly, which is why you’re here instead of in that guy’s car,” he tells me as he turns me to sit on the couch in his office. He isn’t laughing.
“But I’m not a teenager anymore.” I can handle myself.
“And that guy’s been drinking Diet Coke all night. He was going to take advantage of you. I couldn’t let that happen… again,” he finishes so quietly I barely hear him. I’m not sure I’m supposed to.
Because I’m drunk…
“Too bad you weren’t around when I was dating my ex,” I snicker. “His cousin got the charges dismissed.”
Eric looks at me with horror in his eyes for a moment before dropping his head back and covering his face.
“I still know how to hide a body in the bayou,” he mutters.
“Oh I’ve thought about jumping in one,” I confess. “These scumbags all have me in common. I attract that shit. It’s a mindfuck to realize that.”
“Did I ever mistreat you, Sookie?” Eric asks as a man walks in with a glass of water and hands it to him before scurrying out of the office again. Eric goes to his desk to pull a small Tylenol bottle from the drawer and then brings me the water and Tylenol.
“Not that way, no,” I answer. I take the pills and the water he offers me. The pills go down easily but when the water hits my stomach a voice in the back of my head tells me to put my hair up.
“How about we stop talking about all the depressing shit. We can save that talk for when you can remember it,” he chuckles humorlessly. He walks back to his desk and grabs a small waste paper basket to set next to the couch.
“You think we’re going to be friends after tonight?”
“I was hoping we could be,” he shrugs, “I understand if you don’t want to be friends after all these years.”
“I don’t know. I haven’t even thought of you in ages,” I tell him.
“Yeah, life does that,” he replies.
“Dad would shit a brick if he saw you now,” I laugh.
“Why is that, other than he hated me and swore up and down I’d amount to absolutely nothing?” Eric leans against his desk, his eyes on my face as he talks to me.
“Because my other boyfriends make you look like Prince fucking Charming, that’s why,” I answer.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” he says sincerely. “Mom spent her last couple years telling me I should’ve married you instead of my ex-wife,” he smiles.
“Yeah, but think of all the fun we would have missed,” I say bitterly.
“Uh huh.” His tone matches mine. “The breakup has its pros and cons.” He reaches back to grab a small picture frame off his desk and hands it to me. “I have a son now.”
“Poor kid. He looks just like you,” I say sympathetically.
“Yep, and you were attracted to me at one point,” he snorts as he takes his picture back.
“Apparently I was smarter back then. I probably took too many knocks to the head courtesy of Quinn,” I smile. My stomach turns when I think of some of the shit I allowed to happen to me in my life. I stayed with too many bad men because I thought that if I loved them enough that they might change. Wrong.
Eric sighs and says, “I’m sorry you had to go through that. If I could go back in time and protect you from all that shit I would.”
“Life doesn’t work like that. I’ve always had to learn the hard way,” I remind him. My stomach turns violently and my head ends up in the trashcan. Drinking away bad life choices is fun.
I saw this coming a mile away when she started drinking the fruity shit. I could’ve easily let the douchebag take her home and let this be his problem, but I could never knowingly let her go home with someone in this state. She can’t even stand up on her own right now and that fuckin’ sober prick was trying to take her home. I don’t fuckin’ think so.
I move to sit next to Sookie on the couch. I have to pull her ponytail back when it falls over her shoulder and I slowly rub the top of her back. All the shit she’s telling me about her exes makes me fuckin’ sick to my stomach. Part of me says if I would’ve stayed she could have avoided all of that. The rational part knows we weren’t ready for a life commitment then. We would have broken up regardless and she still would’ve chosen one fuckface after another. I don’t get it. She’s a smart, beautiful girl. I will never understand why she doesn’t value herself more. I know she’s gone through some shit, but she was also raised to be stronger. The Sookie I remember didn’t take shit from anyone, especially me.
“You want me to get you some more water?” I ask quietly when the heaving stops.
“No,” she replies hoarsely. Her head lifts and her makeup is running down her face. “I’ll just call a cab and go home.”
“You don’t have to call a cab. I can take you home,” I offer.
“It’s fine. I’m sure you have better things to do than take care of me,” Sookie says. She reaches up and wipes tears off her cheeks. “Besides I’m only a few blocks from here. I’ll be okay.”
“As luck would have it, I’m free for the rest of the night,” I smile, “I don’t mind taking care of an old friend in need.”
“Fine. Home, Jeeves.”
I move the trashcan out of the way and get up to get my keys from the drawer. I help Sookie up from the couch and I have to wrap my arm around her waist to keep her up. I take her out the back door to my car. Helping her into my SUV is more trouble than you would think seeing as she’s suddenly sleepy and doesn’t want to move on her own.
Once she’s in I pull my phone out to call Clancy. I promise him a paid night off if he’ll lock up and clean up the puke in my office, which he reluctantly accepts. He’s a good employee.
“Where’s home?” I ask Sookie as I start my SUV.
“Devereaux Building,” she mumbles. “529.”
It’s not too far from me so I head the direction of her apartment. By the time I’m on the main street she’s passed out with her face smashed against the window. She’s going to hate life tomorrow.
The drive is short. It’s getting her to her apartment that’s hard. She manages to come out of her drunken stupor long enough to tell me the code to get into her building. She leans on me the whole elevator ride to her floor and then I have to practically carry her to her apartment.
When we’re in she drunkenly points to her room. I get her there and plopped onto her bed. Sookie flops back, her legs half off the edge of the bed and if I was an asshole this would be the perfect time to take a peek under her dress. Instead, I pull the throw blanket at the end of her bed over her lap to cover what she’s trying to flash and unzip her boots.
“Come on, Sook, all the way on the bed,” I tell her when she starts to slide off onto the floor. She’s not as light as she used to be and I’m getting too fuckin’ old for this shit.
“But it’s slippery.” She rolls onto her stomach to pull herself back up. The blanket slides off of her and she ends up flashing me her ass anyway.
“I’m going to help you, but I’m warning you now I’ll probably touch something I shouldn’t,” I say as I try to pull her skirt down. If she was sober I would thoroughly enjoy this view. Now it feels wrong.
“Won’t be the first… Oh wait…”
“What am I waiting for?” I ask.
“You were the first. Only I wanted it.”
Yes she did…
“Good to know,” I chuckle as I hoist her up onto the bed by her hips. I move her legs into place and take a seat next to her once she’s on her side. “You want some more Tylenol since you probably puked up the last dose?”
“Nuh uh. I don’t want to move. If I’m really lucky I won’t wake up tomorrow,” she whispers.
I sigh and start to rub her back. I know I haven’t seen her in well over a decade but I still don’t like hearing things like that. Her eyes flutter open to look at me for a moment before she finally passes out. Her body sags into the bed and I pull the blanket over her again.
I go to her bathroom to find her Tylenol and grab two pills to set next to her bed on the nightstand. I go to her kitchen, trying not to snoop too much when I look for the glass and get a glass of water for her to set next to the pills. I bring her bathroom trashcan out to set next to the bed and I take my happy ass out to the living room and find her phone in her purse, which was dropped on the way in. I take a minute to add my number and place it on the charger I saw in her room. I don’t want to be a weirdo and sleep over, so I find a piece of paper and something to write with. I leave her a note next to her bed telling her to call me if she wants to. I hope she does. We have a lot of catching up to do.
The next morning I’m just coming out of the bathroom when my phone rings. I pick up and don’t recognize the number, so I assume it’s Sookie.
“Hello?” I answer as I plop down onto my bed.
“I’m a train wreck,” a froggy voice says.
“It could’ve been worse,” I reply.
“Yeah I could have tried to get a pity fuck out of you,” she says. “Thanks for getting me home.”
“You’re welcome. And I promise, if we ever fuck again it certainly won’t be out of pity,” I chuckle. “You flashed me your goodies a few times. I would be a fool to turn that down from sober you.”
“Oh yeah. I’m a prize,” she snickers.
“You are,” I flirt. “I was just getting ready to get something for breakfast. Want me to bring you something?” I offer.
“I’m not sure I’m ready for solid foods yet, but thanks.”
“How’s your head?” Part of me wants to press seeing her, just to have a sober conversation where I don’t offend her by smacking her ass like an idiot. The other part reminds me to stay put. It’s just the nostalgia getting to me.
“Thumping. I’ll be fine after a pot of coffee, a hot shower and some greasy diner food. The patty melts at Gilroy’s are great for curing hangovers.”
“Well, I offered, but you turned it down,” I chuckle.
“I make terrible life choices, Eric. You should know that by now.”
“So I’ll be there in an hour with your patty melt.”
“With bacon on it,” she says. “Please.”
“Yes, ma’am. Try to shower before I get there. You probably smell like a dead horse,” I joke as I get up to go to turn on my shower.
“Dead horse dipped in vomit and tequila.”
“Yeah, I’ll be there soon.”
“Then I’ll leave the door unlocked just in case speed isn’t my strong suit. Oh, and no sneak attacks like Dad’s out of town,” she says.
I chuckle and say, “Come on, you don’t think it’d be fun?”
“I think you’d be severely disappointed if you compare what is to what was.”
“I doubt that,” I shrug, but she can’t see it. “I’ll be there in a little bit, pretty girl.”
I hang up and take a quick shower. On the way to Sookie’s I make a pit stop at Gilroy’s to get her patty melt. I also get her a ginormous coffee with the cream and sugar on the side. Tastes change over the years and I don’t know how she takes it these days.
As promised the door is unlocked when I walk into her house close to an hour later.
“Where are you?” I call out as I close the door behind me.
“Kitchen,” she replies from my right.
I walk over to her and find her working on a new pot of coffee.
“Gilroy’s coffee and patty melt for the lady,” I smile as I set the plastic bag on the counter next to her.
“Bless,” she whispers and leans over to take a whiff from the bag. Sookie goes to the fridge and grabs what can only be described as a vat of ketchup from inside.
“Do you remember much from last night?” I chuckle.
“Yeah. My hangovers rarely include memory loss, unfortunately for me.” Sookie squeezes ketchup on the lid of her takeout container.
“Good.” I lean against the counter. I don’t really know what to say to her so I watch her move around. It’s so strange to be in a room with someone I wanted to spend my life with at one point. Now if she’s willing I need to get to know her again.