Brie is snoring lightly on my chest when Sookie walks in quietly. I hear the click of her heels for a few seconds before I can hear her hand on the wall and the shoes land on the floor. A few seconds later she pads into the living room to see if we’re in here. We are.
“How was it?” I ask quietly. I know she’s not drunk like Thalia promised she would be. Sookie doesn’t need a get shitfaced to have fun.
“It was fun,” she smiles. “Mustafa is going to have a hot mess to deal with.”
I chuckle and stand up so I can take the baby to bed. She wouldn’t let me leave her alone in the room earlier.
“He’s the one that wants to marry her,” I say and dip down so Sookie can give Brie kisses. “I’m going to take her up to her room.”
“Okay. I’ll be up in a minute.” She strokes some of Brie’s curls back and then steps out of the way.
I pause to take another look at Sookie in the dress she’s wearing. She looks delicious, but I don’t think she’ll accept that if I tell her. I start walking upstairs and smile when I remember Thalia sent me a picture of Sookie on the dance floor in the dress. She sent a few actually. I’m glad I have someone else on my side.
Once I have Brie in bed and I make sure she’s not moving I leave the room. I leave the door open just a few inches and I look to see Sookie’s bedroom light on. I walk down and knock as I push the door all the way open.
“Do you want me to go?” I ask and lean against the door jamb.
“No,” Sookie says. She stands up and pulls her dress up over her head.
My eyes are everywhere at once, but I don’t move from my spot at the door. She hasn’t even been in shorts around me since we started seeing each other again. Now I’m standing here sporting wood, trying to figure out if she’s going to allow me to touch her.
“Um…” I clear my throat and wipe away my drool.
Sookie moves over to her dresser and grabs a nightgown.
“You can stay if you want,” Sookie offers.
“Stop, please,” I whisper. I just want to see her for a moment longer.
“Stop what?” she looks at me curiously.
“Don’t put that on just yet,” I ask and look up to meet her eyes. I start walking toward her, but stop about a foot away. “You’re beautiful, Sookie…”
Her cheeks pink up a bit and she says, “Thank you.”
I reach forward to cup her face and ask, “May I kiss you?”
She nods slowly and turns toward me. I keep my eyes on hers as I close the small distance between us. I make sure to move slowly in case she wants me to stop. I tilt her head up as I softly brush my lips over hers. I’ve given her pecks here and there, but we haven’t gone any further. I hope she’ll allow me a little more, but I’m fine if she stops me again.
My free hand finds her hair and I hold her head in place as I kiss her again and again, waiting for her to take that next step. Her hands settle on my waist and after a minute, she licks my lips. I moan as I open my mouth and my knees go a little weak when our tongues meet. I forgot how good she was with her tongue.
Sookie moans and pulls me a little closer. Her hands move up my chest and clutch at my shirt as the kiss gets deeper. I take the chance to move my hand down from her face to her hip and I pull her in closer so she can feel what she’s doing me. My hips flex a little. I know she’s not ready, but I’ll take what I can get from her. I miss being able to hold her whenever I want to.
After a few minutes Sookie pulls me back toward her bed and the kiss doesn’t break when she sits down suddenly. She pulls me down with her. I push her back on the bed so I’m on top of her in the middle. Her legs wrap around my hips and I pull back to take a breath. My lips travel down her neck and my hips rock against her center.
Sookie moans and her hands move around to my back. Her hips stay still, but her head tilts to give me better access to her neck.
Testing the waters, I slide one of my hands down her side until I reach her ass. I grab on tight, moaning against her neck. Her ass was always my favorite part of her. I massage her ass with my fingers and I start to kiss down to her collarbone. Sookie moans and she’s breathing hard but her hands stay right where they are on my back.
“Is this okay?” I ask as my hand moves in a little more to skim her slit.
Sookie gasps and says, “I want it to be, but I’m not… I can’t…”
I move my hand away and rest it on her hip. I shift to kiss her again and when I pull back I whisper, “I’m not going anywhere, Sookie. I hope you know that now.”
“I do,” she nods. I can see the frustration in her eyes.
I roll off of her and pull her into my chest. I kiss the top of her head and ask, “Do you want to touch me? Will it make it better if I stop and allow you to do what you want?”
“It’s not you, Eric; it’s me. I just need time.”
“Okay… I was just suggesting… maybe it would help you work through your insecurity. That’s all,” I tell her quietly and move her head up to kiss her sweetly on the lips.
Sookie rests her head on my chest for a few minutes and then she gets up to put her nightgown on. She goes to the bathroom and closes the door behind her.
I stay where I am since she said I can stay. If she wants me to move to the couch I will, but I’m going to stay put until then. I can hear the water going followed by the sound of her brushing her teeth. I shift to one side of the bed and wait patiently for her to come back.
When Sookie comes out of the bathroom she turns off the lights and gets under her covers on the other side of the bed.
“Thank you for taking care of Brie tonight,” she says quietly and turns on her side so her back is to me.
I slide over and settle behind her. I rest my hand on her hip. I’m above the covers so I don’t seem like I’m trying to push too far.
“You’re welcome. She’s fun to hang out with,” I say just as quietly.
“Goodnight, Eric.” Sookie moves my hand so my arm is wrapped around her and her fingers lace with mine.
“Goodnight, Sookie,” I whisper and kiss the back of her head. We’re taking baby steps, but this is good. We’re going to be stronger in the end.
My eyes pop open when I feel a tiny hand on my neck and I smell milk breath in my face. Brie’s big blue eyes are studying my face and I grin when she smiles at me. I hear Sookie in her closet moving around.
“Morning, pretty girl,” I smile at Brie. She’s definitely a morning person. “Sook, I’m being attacked,” I call out so she knows I’m awake.
“I’m pretty sure you can take her.” Sookie peeks out from the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her body and her hair wet.
“I don’t know. I’m a sucker for these big blue eyes,” I tell her. She has Sookie’s eyes so that statement covers them both.
“One day you’ll learn,” she smiles and goes back into the bathroom.
“I doubt it,” I mumble.
Brie squeaks when I push her up in the air so her arms and legs are flailing. I bench press her a few times before I get up. I have to pee so I go into the bathroom with Sookie.
“Where do you want her so I can use the restroom?”
“I’ll take her.” Sookie takes Brie from me and leaves the bathroom so I can pee.
I close the door and do my business. I wash my hands and then use Sookie’s mouthwash to rinse away the morning breath. When I leave the bathroom Sookie is dressed, right back into her stretchy clothes, but that’s okay.
“Have you made breakfast yet, or do you want me to do it?” I ask.
“I’m actually just going to have cereal. I’m meeting Jason for lunch with the kids,” she tells me. Her brother has two kids now.
“Alright. I’ll get out of your hair then.” I need to go shower and I promised Mom I’d mow her lawn later.
“Okay. I’ll text you later,” she says with a little smile. “Thanks again for last night.”
“She’s no bother. I’m happy to watch her anytime,” I say and lean in to give Sookie a soft peck. “I’ll see you later, pretty girl,” I tell Brie and give her a raspberry on her neck.
The baby squeals and her little hands reach out for me.
“You can play with Eric next time, Peanut,” Sookie kisses her head.
“See you guys,” I say and go to the living room to grab my wallet and shoes.
Once I have everything I head out. I lock the bottom lock behind me and go out to my car to warm it up. I can see Sookie and Brie through the window and it makes me feel… I don’t know what it is really, but I like the feeling they’re giving me.
When I’m done with the lawn mom has lunch waiting for me. This is a benefit to doing her yard work instead of hiring landscapers for her. Once I wash my hands I take a seat at the table.
“Thanks, Mom,” I smile when I pick up my spoon. She made me some corn chowder, which is my favorite.
“You’re welcome,” she says and sets a little loaf of fresh bread from a nearby bakery on the table.
Mmm this woman spoils me.
“What would I do without you?” I ask and I take a big bite of bread.
“Go dateless.” She has that smile on her face.
“Mom, I’m capable of getting my own dates. Please don’t say you’ve set up another one.” I haven’t told her about Sookie yet.
“If you’d just pick one already I wouldn’t have to,” Mom says.
I sigh and set down my spoon.
“I’m seeing someone,” I tell her.
“Who? Do I know her? What does she look like? How did you meet? Are you sleeping with her?”
I pull out my phone and find one of the pictures Thalia sent. It’s waist up and Sookie is smiling at the camera in the middle of the small group of girls that went out that night.
“Here.” Mom didn’t meet Sookie the last time, but she saw her.
“You’ve got a harem?” Mom looks impressed instead of concerned. “Good for you, son.”
“The blonde in the middle,” I chuckle. “And we aren’t sleeping together yet.”
She looks a little closer and says, “You were banging her a few years ago.”
“I was. We’re taking it slow this time. I ran into her again on the Ginger date.”
“You know everyone told me I’d have great tits after I had a baby. They lied. They’re like those pool noodles now,” Mom says, which is just too much information. “That said, this one’s got a great rack.”
“Uh… how do you know she has a kid?” I ask. “And yes, hers are fantastic.” Not that I’ve seen them bare.
“She has a kid?” Mom smacks my shoulder. “It better not be yours.”
Color me confused.
“Why were you talking about… never mind. No it’s not mine. She’s about six months old,” I tell her. I take my phone back and flip through the pictures to find the one I took of Brie last night with cereal all over her face and her bottom teeth barely sticking through her gums. “This is her daughter.”
Mom smiles and says, “She’s a cutie. A little dark, though.”
“And? I don’t know what her dad looks like. It never really dawned on me, she’s a cute kid.”
“It’s just an observation. Don’t get your dick in a knot.”
“Sorry.” Apparently I’m a little protective of Brie.
“So about Danielle–”
“I’m not going out on another one of your dates. I like Sookie,” I say firmly.
“Bring her over,” Mom says. “I want to meet her.”
“I’ll ask her. I’m not bringing her until she’s ready though.” Sookie is having a hard enough time warming up to me again.
“Oh fine,” Mom huffs. “Bring that cute baby too. What’s her name?”
I smile. “I’ll invite them. The baby is named Brie.”
“Like the cheese? Tastes like cum, you know…”
“I don’t need to hear about your cum tasting years, Mother,” I chuckle. “And yes, like the cheese. I didn’t ask her why she named her that.”
“Those years aren’t over.” Mom’s eyebrows dance. Gross.
“TMI,” I cringe.
I take my phone back and shoot Sookie a text.
Me: Mom wants me to bring you and Brie over soon.
I start eating my soup again. I need to get the image of my mother with cum anywhere near her out of my head.
Sookie: Good thing I’m already seeing a therapist lol
I send her the picture I took of Brie last night since I forgot to.
Sookie: Is it wrong that I want to eat her she’s so cute!
Me: Not at all. I chewed on her arms a little after I cleaned her up.
Me: Do you want me to bring you some of Mom’s corn chowder later?
I wasn’t planning on going back to her place. I can use food as an excuse though.
Sookie: No thanks. I’m making chicken and mashed potatoes for dinner. From scratch.
Me: Good 🙂
I’m happy she’s cooking real food.
Sookie: Are you having dinner with me? I make a mean gravy.
Me: If you want me there. I don’t have anything else going on when I leave Mom’s.
I finish my soup and get up to clean the bowl.
“Mom, I’m going to take off. I need a shower,” I say as I wrap my arms around her in a tight hug. “Thanks for lunch.”
“You’re welcome.” She gives me a kiss on the cheek. “You let me know about Sookie and the baby.”
“I will. I’ll call you tomorrow,” I tell her. I grab my keys and I take off so I can go home to shower before I go back to Sookie’s.
I lay Brie in her crib and close the door most of the way behind me. She’s had a long day and her poor mouth is killing her. The baby Tylenol should help her sleep, though. I hate seeing her in pain and not being able to fix it for her.
Eric is kindly picking up her toys for me when I get back downstairs. He only stops when he feels me watching him. Specifically, his ass.
He looks over his shoulder and wiggles his ass a little.
“Enjoying the show?” he smirks.
“Mmhmm,” I smile and lean in the archway. “Her Highness is out cold.”
“Does that mean I get a little alone time with Mommy?” he asks as he straightens up.
“Only if you don’t call me Mommy. It’s creepy if she’s not around,” I tell him.
He chuckles and says, “Deal. How does Gorgeous sound?” He begins to stalk toward me.
“It’s better than mommy,” I laugh.
When he reaches me he kisses me.
“I promise, no more Mommy without the baby around,” he whispers.
“Do you want me to go home?” he inquires as he takes my hand.
“Only if you want to.”
“I don’t want to.” He rests my hand on his waist and wraps his arms around my shoulders.
“Then stay.” I tilt my head up and kiss his chin.
He dips to catch my lips and we stand in the hallway kissing for a few minutes.
“Want to watch a movie?” he asks when he pulls back.
“Sure. You can even put on a scary movie if you want,” I offer.
“Oooh, okay. I’ll see what we have on demand,” he grins.
“Nothing too bloody,” I say as I follow him to the living room.
We sit down on the couch and because I’m a big chicken, I just curl up next to him while Eric looks for a movie.
“Paranormal Activity?” he grins.
“I’ve never seen it. Is it good?” The look on his face tells me I might cry before it’s over.
“It’s great,” he says with a wicked grin. “I’m sure you’re going to love it.”
“I’m sure I’m going to hide behind a blanket most of the time,” I retort.
“I’ll protect you,” he promises and kisses my forehead after he hits play.
“You better.” I rest my head on his shoulder.
The movie doesn’t start out too bad. It kind of reminds me of The Blair Witch Project with the camcorder stuff, but it quickly gets creepy. Things going bump in the night and the idiot boyfriend that can’t stop challenging the thing in the house.
“I’d punch him in the balls if I was her,” I say at one point after he brings an Ouija board into the house.
Eric chuckles and says, “For some reason I don’t doubt you would.”
“Seriously, what’s wrong with this assclown?”
“He’s ready to fight and protect what’s his. I would do the same thing,” he shrugs.
“And you’d get a punch in the balls too,” I tell him. “I don’t mess with the supernatural.”
“Fine, I’d send you and Brie to your parents’ house and then I’d fight it. Is that better?”
“You can’t fight a demon,” I argue.
“Sure you can. If I didn’t it would just follow me to the next house. I’d have to show the fucker who runs the show.”
“And how would you do that?” A door slams on TV and I squeak and turn my head.
“Not by squeaking at it,” Eric laughs.
“Shut up,” I laugh and nibble on his arm.
“It’s cute,” he says and tilts his head to rest his forehead on mine. “I’d have to do some research, but I would keep you out of harm’s way and get rid of the demon. I need to keep my two favorite girls safe.”
“Yeah, well, you play demon hunter and I’ll start interviewing your replacement,” I tell him.
“Maybe we shouldn’t watch the rest of this,” he smiles and kisses the tip of my nose.
“Why not? Does she wise up and dump him for a guy that’s not a jackass?”
“Not quite,” he shakes his head. “He does go missing though.”
“Women. Can’t make ’em happy,” he sighs and squeezes my shoulder.
“Sure you can. Just don’t be a jackass.” It’s not that hard.
“I promise I’ll try not to be a jackass.”
“Thank you,” I chuckle and snuggle against his chest.
I’m stretched out on the chaise lounge in Dr. Brigant’s office, staring at the fish tank that’s built into the wall. His office is a soothing space. I feel comfortable here.
“We haven’t had sex yet but he’s slept in the same bed as me twice this week, so that’s progress, right?”
Dr. Brigant is sitting behind me. I have an easier time talking if he’s not in my face.
“That’s definitely progress, Sookie. Is having sex something you want?”
“I do. The first time we dated we had a very sexual relationship, but it’s not just about Eric. It’s a part of me and right now it feels like that part is missing,” I explain.
“When did you notice this? Was it when Eric came back into your life, or before?”
“I was aware of it before he came back but I didn’t feel any urgency to change it. I had the opportunity to become involved with my neighbor, but I didn’t pursue it.”
“And you said your daughter’s father is not part of the picture?” he asks as I hear scribbling on paper behind me.
“No, Rasul is… I don’t know where he is. I know he’s originally from Hawaii, but that’s about it,” I admit. His mom is Persian and his dad is Samoan, which is how Brie got the coloring she did.
“Is that something that bothers you?”
“Yes and no. I don’t know what he would have said if I had been able to tell him I got pregnant. It’s easy to assume he wouldn’t want to be a part of Brie’s life, but what if he would? What if my daughter doesn’t have a father because her mother was careless? It’s not fair to her.” My eyes well but I always cry during my appointments.
“Have you thought about trying to find him? Rasul isn’t a common name. Also, think about how you would feel if you got pregnant and then the father died. Would you have these same feelings?”
“I’ve thought about looking for him. I don’t know his last name. It’s pathetic. If I got pregnant and the father died it would be different,” I say as I reach for a tissue. “If Rasul died that’s permanent and unchangeable. But if he’s just out there in the ether, I feel like I let Brie down. I should have been more responsible.”
“Sookie, your job as a mother is to raise your daughter to be a responsible adult. All you need to do is love her, teach her, and feed her. I doubt she’s going to feel any different about you. Children are pure and love completely, regardless of the mistakes their parents have made. By beating yourself up like you’ve been doing you’re doing you or your daughter any favors.”
“She’s going to grow up someday. She doesn’t care right now, but in fifteen years it could be another story.” I dab at my eyes.
“She will grow up, and she’s going to have questions. Answer those questions to the best of your ability. She could be upset, or she could be fine with your answers. You won’t know until that time comes, but until then you should stop this abusive behavior.”
“I know,” I sigh. “It’s just not that easy. If it was, I wouldn’t be here.”
“I know,” he says. “It’s going to take time, Sookie. You need to count on the people in your life that are trying to help you. Allow them to support you, don’t push them away. In time you’ll start to notice the positive changes. I can tell you I’m already starting to see some growth.”
“I’m trying really hard to remember to ask for help and to speak up if I need a break,” I tell him. “I let Eric give Brie a bath or feed her for me. He’s with her right now, actually.”
“That’s great, Sookie. Keep that up. It’s not impossible to raise a child on your own, but you need the breaks every now and then. Eric seems like he’s trying to keep you from over extending yourself. That’s a good thing.”
“He is. He’s great with Brie. She adores him and I love that he has so easily embraced her just because she’s mine,” I admit. “But I worry about asking for too much help. I don’t want him to feel like he’s a glorified babysitter or something.”
“Thus the lack of sex making you worry,” he comments.
“Maybe,” I say quietly.
“Has he tried to push you for more than you’ve been willing to offer?”
“Not really. If he goes too far I tell him and he backs off,” I tell him. I take a deep breath and say, “The first time we dated it ended after he didn’t take my no seriously and he forced himself in my mouth.”
I haven’t talked to Dr. Brigant about this. Actually, outside of Thalia, I haven’t told anyone about it.
“I see…” Dr. Brigant goes quiet for a moment. “Do you feel like that’s something he’s capable of doing again?”
“I didn’t think he could do it the first time. I know he’s sorry and I know he regrets it…” I trail off. This is hard to talk about.
“Did you guys resolve things after this happened?”
“He apologized and I ended the relationship. I thought that was it,” I sniffle and grab another tissue.
“You trust him with your daughter?” he questions with no inflection. He simply wants to know.
“I’m trying to.”
“Sookie, the two of you cannot move forward until you can trust him. To me it feels like you trust him to take care of Brie, but you have some lingering resentment over what happened in the past. Have you talked to him?”
“No,” I admit. “I didn’t want to drag it up. I know he feels terrible. I don’t want to make it worse.”
“Was that incident the sole reason for your breakup?”
“At that point we wanted different things out of a relationship and Eric was trying to be something he wasn’t to keep me around. That’s what led to what happened,” I explain. “I decided it wasn’t fair to try to change him. He deserved someone that would love him for exactly who he was.”
“Is Eric trying to be someone different now?”
“No, he’s not.”
“Have you forgiven him for what happened in the past?”
“I thought that I had, but now I’m thinking maybe I just pushed it away. I didn’t have to confront it because he wasn’t in my life anymore. Now he’s back. I want to be able to trust him and see him the way I did once upon a time, but I’m not there yet,” I say.
“My suggestion is to talk to him. If you want to move forward you need to forgive him. Sookie just to be sure, you do want to move forward with Eric?”
I take a breath and think for a minute. I know he’s attracted to me and I know he likes me. He’s good to my daughter and there was potential in the past. I can see good things for us in the future if I can get past my mental blocks.
“I do,” I answer.
“I don’t normally do this, but would you like to bring Eric in to talk to him about your past? This way you guys have an unbiased third party present?”
“I can ask him if he would come in,” I say just as the buzzer goes off, signaling that my hour is up.
“I’ll expect to see the two of you next week,” Dr. Brigant smiles when we stand up so he can escort me out.
“Thank you,” I smile at him as I walk out. I have a standing appointment every Thursday.
On my way home I stop for a latte. With Brie getting her teeth I’m weening her off the boob. I’ve got milk stocked in the freezer so she’s covered for the next day or two. I get Eric a latte as well since he goes bonkers over the pumpkin spice stuff.
When I get home I pull into the garage and quietly go inside in case Brie is sleeping. I take off my shoes in the mud room and find my baby girl sitting up all by herself on the floor with her boppee pillow surrounding her.
“Look at you, Peanut,” I grin and set down the coffee to go say hello. Her little arms shoot up into the air so I’ll pick her up.
“Hey, babe,” Eric greets me and kisses me real quick. “She started sitting right after you left.”
“Of course she did,” I laugh and pick up my baby. I kiss her cheeks and hug her tightly.
“I promise to save the crawling for you,” Eric winks. “How was your session?”
“It was good.” I snuggle my baby and go to get the tray of coffee. “It was rough in spots but I figured out something pretty important. Dr. Brigant wants you to come with me next week if you’re okay with that.”
“Uh… sure?” he agrees, but sounds confused.
I hand him his coffee and then sit down on the couch with mine. Brie lurches forward to get back on the floor so I set her down. She rolls her way to her toys and pushes herself up to sit. Eric moves her pillow so it’ll catch her if she falls over.
“We uh, we talked about what happened before we broke up,” I explain.
He looks at me as he sits next to me on the couch.
“You know that still bugs me? I assume that’s why he wants me to come with you?”
“Actually, he wants you to come because it bugs me,” I say and sip my coffee.
“I’m still so sorry, Sookie,” he says quietly.
“I know. He asked if we talked about it and I told him we haven’t. I don’t want to make you feel worse.”
“Sookie, you have to worry about you right now. Of course I feel terrible, but we aren’t going anywhere if we don’t work this out. I don’t know about you, but I want to move forward with you. Not just sexually. I want you to be able to talk to me…”
“I know. I’m working on it,” I smile at him.
He reaches over to take my hand. “I know. I’m proud of you.”
“Thank you.” I take another drink of my coffee.
“Do you want to scoot over here and snuggle with me?” he smiles.
I scoot over and lean against him. He wraps an arm around my shoulders and we watch Brie play on the floor until she loses her balance and topples over. The pillow breaks her fall, but it still spooks her into crying so I slide down to pick her up and cuddle her. She snuggles into my chest and settles down. I rub her back and within minutes, she’s nodding off.
“Are you staying for dinner?” I whisper to Eric.
“Yeah. I wanted to see if you want homemade pizza,” he whispers back.
“Sounds good. I’ll just take her up to bed and then I’ll come help you,” I tell him and stand up to take Brie up to her room.