Sookie’s parents agreed to watch Brie for the night. I was actually a little worried that she would flake on me, so this is a pleasant surprise. It’s not too cold out so I decide on a pair of dark jeans and black V-neck sweater. My hair’s gotten a little longer, so I push it back and spray it in place. I grab my wallet and my keys, before I’m off to pick up Sookie. I sent her a bouquet of flowers from the local florist. I haven’t heard from her so I don’t know if she got them. I assume so.
When I pull up to her house I shake off the nerves before I get out of the car. The sun is just going down and the sunset behind her house looks gorgeous. When I get to her door I ring the doorbell and wait.
The door opens and Thalia is standing there.
“Uh… hi,” I smile.
She stands back to let me in.
“Sook is almost ready,” she tells me.
“Okay.” I don’t know what else to say. She’s staring at me. I can feel her eyes on my crotch and when I look back at her she doesn’t stop staring. Annnd she just licked her lips.
“What do you plan in doing with that thing tonight, McCreamy?” she asks me and finally looks up at my face.
“What?” I ask. I don’t think I actually heard her right.
“The monster cock you’re rocking. What are your intentions with it when it comes to my girl?”
Okay. I don’t know how she knows how big my dick is and secondly it’s none of her business.
“Any thing Sookie and I do or don’t do is between us,” I inform her.
“Mmhmm. Well, I caught neighbor boy checking her out. If you want some of that you better step up your game.”
Before I can reply Sookie walks into the room.
“Thal, quit fucking with him,” Sookie says. “You’re worse than Jason.”
“Who says I’m fucking? I’m serious,” she shrugs.
Sookie rolls her eyes and slaps Thalia’s hands away when she tries to unbutton another button on Sookie’s top.
“You look gorgeous, Sookie,” I smile at her, ignoring her friend.
“Thanks. It’s amazing what a shower and a haircut can do,” she says.
“You looked gorgeous last time, too,” I tell her. I hear Thalia make a sound that sounds eerily like bad porn.
Sookie turns to her and says, “Save it for your fiancé, Thal.”
“Just sayin’ you can probably use some good dick.”
“And you could use a ball gag,” Sookie fires back. “You can go now.”
She grins and says, “Good seeing you again, Eric. Kiss her in that spot below her ear and she’s all your tonight.”
“Duly noted,” I chuckle.
“Goodbye, Thalia,” Sookie says firmly.
Thalia walks out, leaving me alone with Sookie.
“So, there’s a burger joint I was thinking about taking you to,” I tell her. My eyes travel her body.
“Sounds good. I’ll just grab my bag and we’ll go,” she says and turns around to get her purse.
Of course I’m typical me and watch her ass. I didn’t get a good look at it the last two times I saw her and it’s considerably better.
“Did you get the flowers I sent?”
“I did,” she says as she comes back. “They’re beautiful, thank you. Brie tried to eat a daisy.”
“Next time I’ll send her her own. Ready?” I hold out my hand for her.
“Yep,” Sookie grabs her keys from her bag and takes my hand.
I wait until she locks the door and I hold her hand all the way to the car. I open the door and help her in before I run around to the other side. Sookie and I have only talked once since I asked her out on the date.
“How was your week?” I ask as I pull out of her driveway.
“Pretty good. Brie started really laughing last night so I’ve been making an ass of myself to get her to do it over and over,” she admits.
“I bet it was adorable, both of you.”
“I’m just glad no one got me on video,” she laughs.
“That actually bums me out. Did you dance for her?” I ask.
“Uh huh. Among other things.”
“Would you like to tell me what you did that was so embarrassing?” I ask, glancing over at her.
“Nope. That’s between Peanut and me.”
“We’ll see. I almost forgot how forward Thalia was. She spent the first minute I was there with her eyes on my crotch,” I say.
“That’s my girl,” she sighs. “She’s actually getting married next month, believe it or not.”
“Takes a brave man to deal with that. My dad was constantly telling Mom to watch her mouth. Never worked,” I chuckle. “I think she’s suspicious about the neighbor, by the way. And how does she know I have a ‘monster cock’?”
“She hacks into my email,” Sookie laughs. “And Mustafa, her fiancé, is extremely laid back. They balance each other out.”
“That’s good… I need to ask you something that I’d rather ask before we’re in a room full of people…”
“You know I like you, I’ve never made that a secret. Well, I guess this is a two parter. Is this, what we’re doing, are you taking this seriously? I mean I want to see you more than as a friend. Part two, if you are ready for a relationship is there… Do you still think you can’t live without that aspect of a relationship?”
“You mean the domination stuff?”
“Yeah, I’m all for a little spanking and every now and then, but I like normal sex. You know I’ll always make it as good as I can, but ‘punishments’ are off the table.”
Sookie nods and says, “You know, it’s amazing what having a baby will change. I would be mortified if Brie found that box I used to have. I got rid of that stuff during the last trimester of my pregnancy. As for you… I want to get to know you again and I want you to see what my life is like now because it’s not the way it was. I have to drop everything at the drop of a hat for Brie. We can take things slow and see what happens.”
“I’m good with that. I just want you to know, I understand what you’re doing, the single parenthood. I know she’ll always be your number one priority and that’s how it should be,” I say. I want to bring up sleeping with her neighbor if we’re seeing each other, but it’s too early.
“Just as long as we’re clear.”
“Crystal,” I assure her. “Is this okay?” I ask and reach over to hold her hand.
“Yeah, it’s okay.”
I give her hand a little squeeze.
“This is weird. You and I have always talked about sex, but I don’t feel like we should be talking about that. Then I look at you and… you still do it for me, big time.”
“I haven’t since I got pregnant,” Sookie says quietly.
“You haven’t what?” She said she’s been sleeping with her neighbor, so I assume they talked about sex first.
“But… your neighbor?”
“What about him?”
“You told me you were seeing him,” I remind her.
“I have been.”
“So… uh…” Okay, I’m confused.
“Seeing each other doesn’t mean I’m fucking him, Eric,” Sookie pulls her hand away.
“The way you said it sounded like you are. I’m sorry for misunderstanding.” Great. I’ve already fucked it up.
“I barely have time to eat or shower. I’m exhausted all the time. I look terrible naked. No way am I having sex with my neighbor in my spare time.”
“Sorry. I shouldn’t have assumed,” I apologize again. I reach back over and rest my hand on hers. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay,” she says with her head turned toward the window.
I sigh. I pull over into the parking lot of a business that’s already closed. I get out of the car and walk around to Sookie’s side of the car. I open the door and wrap her in a tight hug.
“It’s not okay,” I whisper. “I feel like everything we do turns into one big miscommunication. You don’t need me assuming you’re sleeping with someone, knowing your situation. I’m really sorry, and to me you’re still beautiful, so I assume every man out there wants you.”
“It’s okay,” she says again but she sounds sad.
“Sookie, talk to me,” I plead. We’re never going anywhere if she holds things back.
“I told you a baby changes everything. I avoid mirrors at all costs lately. I’m a mess,” she says.
I pull back, holding onto her shoulders. “Look at me, please,” I ask since she’s looking down at the ground.
Sookie lifts her head and there are tears on her cheeks.
I reach up to wipe her tears and tell her, “Sookie, your body is a little different, but that doesn’t make it bad at all. If anything creating that little girl made you more beautiful. I haven’t seen you naked, but I’m willing to bet my bank account you’ll still get me harder than anyone has in the past.”
“That’s nice of you to say, but until I feel that way about myself, it doesn’t mean much,” she says.
“That’s bullshit, Sookie. I’ve seen you with your hair matted and makeup all over your face. You were gorgeous then and you’re gorgeous now. Stop, just… stop,” I say a little more sternly. I know it’s going to take more than me telling her how beautiful she is, but I’m willing to remind her every second I’m with her.
“You don’t get it,” she sighs and pulls away from me.
“What will it take?” I ask.
“Have a baby and then come talk to me.”
“Fine. I’ll just remind you every chance I can how fucking perfect you are to me,” I growl.
“Whatever,” she huffs.
I feel like I’m beating my head against a brick wall.
“Do you still want to go out?”
“Are you going to keep telling me how I should feel about myself?”
“No,” I grumble.
“Then let’s go.”
I close her door and walk back around to the driver side. I start up my car and when I take off it’s in silence.
“Is Brie short for anything?” I finally ask after a few minutes.
“No,” she answers quietly.
“Can we have a change of plans?” I ask.
“You don’t seem like you’re up for being in public, so I was wondering how you’d feel if I took you back to my place so I can make you dinner?”
“I’m not sure I want to be alone with you right now,” she says.
“No funny business. I won’t even touch you unless you ask me to.” The look on her face is making my heart ache. She just looks so sad.
“No, the restaurant is fine,” she says. “If you would rather not do this–”
“Are you kidding me? Of course I want to do this. I say it again, I like you. I like hanging out with you. We’re almost at the restaurant now. I was just giving you the choice since you don’t look like you want to be out.”
We finish the drive to the restaurant. I ask her to stay put so I can open her door for her. When she hops out I hold out my hand, hoping she’ll take it.
I really just want to go home, get back in my sweats and go to sleep. Eric’s sweet for thinking the things he does, but I just don’t see myself the same way. My body is different. I can’t even sneeze now without changing my underwear. The last thing I feel is sexy. There’s a reason why Sam and I never went on a real date.
Eric and I are seated at a booth and I take out my phone to text my mom to see how Brie is doing. That night out with Thalia was the first time I left my baby for more than an hour. I know my mom can handle Brie overnight, but I miss her little face. While I have my phone out I also text Thal.
Me: So far this is a disaster.
Thalia: This time I blame you!
Thalia: I’m right. That man looks at you like you walk on water.
“Have you decided what you want to get?” Eric asks.
I put my phone aside and open the menu. I scan it for a few seconds and say, “Probably the bacon cheddar burger on a pretzel bun with the seven pepper fries.”
“Sounds good,” he smiles. “I don’t know what I’m getting yet.”
“The Philly burger is good,” I tell him. I’ve been here a few times.
“Mmkay, maybe I’ll go with that.”
“The chicken teriyaki burger is good too. I got mine with onion rings on it.” I close the menu and set it off to the side. My phone chimes and there’s a picture of my baby girl with a cereal goatee that makes me laugh.
“Got something good over there?” Eric asks with a small smile.
“Her last meal of the day.” I turn the phone to show him.
He laughs and says, “She’s precious, Sookie.”
“Yeah, that’s my girl.” I pet the screen and set my phone aside.
“She’s beautiful, you did a good job incubating her,” he grins.
“Thanks.” I shrug out of my jacket and put it on top of my purse.
“So…” he trails off. He looks like he has no idea what to say.
“Yeah,” I trail off too.
“We need an ice breaker. Things seemed so easy with Brie around. Now I don’t know what to talk about,” he chuckles.
“Me either,” I agree. “Oh, I have to wear a hideous pumpkin orange dress for Thalia’s wedding.”
“I’m sure it’s going to be beaut… that sucks. Orange is for inmates,” he says, correcting his compliment.
“It could be worse. The other girls are wearing brown with orange sashes,” I tell him. “But Brie’s little flower girl dress is the most precious thing in the whole world.”
“I can’t wait to see pictures of her,” he tells me. “I also think Thalia has a screw loose. That’s not always a bad thing, though.”
“No offense, but your sister is a lot like her,” I inform him.
“Oh, I know. I think everybody has that special someone in their life that just says fuck it about everything.”
“I think that’s accurate,” I agree as our waitress approaches.
She’s tall, brunette, at least ten years younger and I think even I have a boner from looking at her.
Once she gets through her greeting Eric, without once looking at her, asks me, “Water tonight? Or something else?” Since our waitress doesn’t seem to notice me.
“I’ll take a Dos Equis, please,” I say politely.
Eric finally looks up at our waitress and says, “Shouldn’t you be writing that down?” The girl, Dawn, has a pen and paper but she’s too busy looking at Eric to write down my order.
“Oh, sorry, what?” she asks, thrusting her tits at him.
“Two Dos Equis,” he states again and sits back, trying to get away from her.
“Coming right up.”
“If she gets any worse she might be losing her tip,” Eric grumbles.
“I told you women are drawn to you,” I shrug.
“Uh, no,” he shakes his head. “That one probably has a mental disorder.”
“I doubt it.”
Dawn comes back with our beers and smiles at Eric as she sets them on the table.
“So what can I get you and your sister?” she asks him.
He rolls his eyes and asks, “Baby, what are you ordering for us?”
“You call your sister baby?” Dawn smirks.
“No, he calls her Nora and I’m calling your manager,” I smirk too. “You can go now.”
“What the fuck?” he says under his breath.
Dawn walks away on a huff and I shake my head. I don’t even know what to say. If Dawn wasn’t being so flirty I would think she legitimately thought I was Eric’s sister. It’s not a stretch since we have similar hair and eyes.
“Sorry about that,” Eric sighs.
“It’s not your fault.” I don’t blame him.
“It’s still rude.” He reaches over to hold my hand. Eric starts playing with my fingers while we wait for the manager. I don’t think it’s dawned on him that we aren’t exactly back to hand holding after the incident in the car.
“At least she didn’t assume I’m your mom,” I shrug and take my hand back.
“I wouldn’t be that far of a stretch from her perspective.”
“Can you stop that?” he asks, sitting back in the booth.
“Stop what?” I sip my beer.
“You want me to stop telling you how good you look, so you have to stop talking like you’re Quasimodo,” he says.
“I’m just being honest,” I shrug. I don’t have any blinders on. I see myself.
The manager comes by and apologizes for Dawn. We’re assigned a different waiter and given a free appetizer. I just hope the kitchen staff doesn’t spit in our food.
“How about you keep that honesty to yourself,” he says once the manager leaves. “Now, let’s just have a good time please.”
“Do you want to come in for a bit?” I ask when Eric walks me to my door.
“Sure,” he smiles.
I unlock the door and go inside. Eric follows me in and I kick off my shoes. I slip off my jacket and hang it up.
“Do you want something to drink?” I offer.
“Uh, what do you have?”
“Baby apple juice, milk, water, white wine from like a year and a half ago…” I mostly drink milk and water.
“I’ll take some water,” he chuckles. “I’m good on year old wine.”
“I had a glass a few weeks ago. It tastes fine,” I shrug and head to the kitchen.
Since I’ve already had a beer I pour myself a glass of wine and get Eric his water.
“I’ll take the wine if it’s still good,” he tells me, still takes the water.
“It’s wine. It gets better as it gets older.” I hold out my glass for him so he can try it.
He takes a small sip and hands it back to me. “I’ll take a bottle,” he winks.
“Keep that. I’ll pour another.” I get another glass down to pour more.
“Where are we sitting?” he questions.
“Ummm… the living room, I guess. Just watch out for baby shrapnel on the floor or under the couch cushions.” I put the wine back in the fridge and follow Eric to the living room.
When Eric gets to the couch he swipes his arm under the cushion to make sure there aren’t any toys before he takes a seat on one end. I sit at the other end and take a drink. The only wine I can drink without getting a headache is muscato so it’s a little sweeter than most.
We sit there in awkward silence for a while. I’m not sure what to talk about since we talked a lot over dinner. If I wasn’t in such a weird place I’d definitely try to kiss him, but despite his compliments I’m still not seeing myself the way I used to, or the way Eric wants me to.
Eric shifts on the couch to lean in toward the middle. He takes a sip of his wine and turns to look at me.
“Is this awkward for you?” he asks with a playful smile on his face.
“Yes,” I answer truthfully.
“Me too.” He looks around a little and then his eyes land on mine. “I don’t like that we’re awkward.”
“It’s not us. It’s me,” I correct him.
“How do you think we should take care of that?” he asks.
“I have no idea.” I take another drink of my wine.
“I have a suggestion, but I don’t know if you’ll go with it.”
“Ummm okay?” I look at him nervously. I hate that I’m so self-conscious now. I didn’t used to be and he knows it. I used to be the girl that went out in the hallway in my underwear to take pictures of myself. I used to send him videos of me having orgasms. Now I can barely look him in the eye.
“Close your eyes,” he whispers and slowly moves closer to me.
“Okay.” I close my eyes. I’m pretty sure I know what’s coming.
He closes the distance and his hand comes up to cup my face. I can feel him breathing heavily and the heat from his body.
“If you want me to stop, say the word,” he says barely audible just before his lips brush against mine.
There’s that evil little voice hissing in my head that he should stop, but I ignore it. If I’m ever going to get past this shit in my head, I need to push myself and let my guard down a little bit.
He doesn’t push to deepen the kiss. It’s a lingering peck. His hand slides down from my face, moving around to the back of my neck. He shifts his body to get a little closer to me. I can feel his deep breaths though his nose. I know he wants more, but he’s waiting for me to make the move.
I know he’s a great kisser but I can’t go any further than this. It’s frustrating.
“I’m sorry,” I whisper.
“Don’t apologize,” he whispers back and pulls back a little.
“I’m mentally worse than a sixteen-year-old girl right now,” I say.
“Hey,” he strokes my face, “I get it. This is more than I expected anyway.”
“Look, Eric, I know what you think of me and I know you want me to see me the way you do. I hope I get back to that, but I don’t know how long it’ll take. So I understand if you don’t want to stick around,” I tell him.
“I’m not going anywhere,” he promises.
“Even if this is as good as it gets?”
“Look, I know you feel like you’re never going to be ready, but you will be. And even if this is as good as it gets, that’s enough,” he shrugs. “I’ve always liked you, Sookie.”
“I’m sure night after night of awkward conversation and closed mouth kissing would get boring after a while, Eric.” I know how he is too. It won’t be enough.
“Are you trying to get rid of me, Sookie?” he asks, sitting up all the way.
“Maybe,” I whisper.
He stands up and starts pacing the room. He stops and kneels in front of me. His eyes are bluer than normal, I notice.
“Sookie, I don’t know what to do about you. I didn’t want to break up when we did. I went along with it because at the time it was the right thing to do. Now we’ve been given a second chance. I… I want to be in your life. I want to be in Brie’s life… I just… don’t push me away, please.”
I don’t know what to say so I just nod. Eric takes my wine and sets it on the end table.
“I’m sorry,” I apologize again. “You don’t deserve this.”
“It’s not about deserving, Sookie. I found something I want, and I’m going to be greedy for once. I want to make you smile more.”
“That doesn’t sound greedy to me.”
“What does it sound like to you?” he smiles.
“Like you’re just being you.”
“Is that a bad thing?”
“No,” I shake my head.
“Will you please stop pushing me away?”
“I can try,” I tell him. It’s the best I can do right now.
“That’s all I can ask for,” he whispers and tilts his head to peck my lips again.
I lift my hands to touch his face and I kiss him back for a few seconds. This isn’t the best date I’ve ever been on, but Eric is still here and he’s not going anywhere until I tell him to.