Oh shit. Oh shit, I broke her.
“No, no, no don’t cry,” I said, trying to pull Sookie into a hug.
“I can’t stop,” she sobbed. At least that was what it sounded like she said.
I wasn’t sure what happened to make her so upset. Sookie was usually on a pretty even keel but she was definitely losing her shit right then. So I wrapped her in a tight hug, which at first only made her cry harder. I was afraid she was going to make herself sick because of it. I didn’t know what to say to calm her down and I was afraid I’d make it worse so I just stayed quiet.
Eventually she calmed down on her own. Her small hands wrapped around me the best they could. Sookie held on as tight as possible as she gasped for air.
“Sorry,” she sniffled after several more minutes passed and she could breathe again.
“You wanna talk about it?” If she didn’t I’d let it go.
“I hate crying,” she muttered. “I don’t know what happened.”
She didn’t laugh, just sniffled again.
I didn’t know what to say that wouldn’t set her off again. It wasn’t like I could just tell her to move into my house. I loved her and I loved being with her but we weren’t ready to live together yet. There were too many variables I didn’t have any clue how she’d react to. Deep down my gut told me she was the one I’d be buying a ring for but we weren’t there yet.
“I’m going to go freshen up,” she whispered, trying to extract herself from my grasp.
“Are we okay?” I asked. I wasn’t letting her go until I knew we were.
“We’re fine,” she answered.
I nodded and let Sookie go. Finn followed her back to the bedroom. I sat there unsure of what to do. I decided to just give Sookie some space and follow her cues. With my appetite shot for the moment, I got up to take our plates to the kitchen. I started cleaning up the mess I made and called Sawyer in to give him my leftover bacon. Of course he was all too willing to take the offered treat.
“You’re lucky you don’t have to worry about girlfriend trouble,” I said as I pet his head.
“I didn’t mean to ruin breakfast,” Sookie said from behind me a moment later.
“Don’t worry about it. Although if my cooking is so bad it makes you cry I should just let you do it,” I joked.
“Your cooking was delicious,” she said. She wasn’t in a joking mood yet.
“Are you going to be a dark cloud all day?” I asked as nicely as I could. I was pissed about the stunt Andre pulled, but I wasn’t going to let it ruin my day.
She walked over to me, wrapping her arms around my middle. Sookie’s head landed on my chest as she hugged me tightly.
“I don’t want to be,” she said. “This morning started so good and then… It all went to shit.” She wasn’t crying, that was a good sign.
“Because of me?”
“No,” she shook her head. “I just don’t want to sign another lease and then we’ll be ready to move in together in three months, you know? I’m not mad you’re not ready. It’s not my place to tell you how you should feel.”
“If we’re ready in three months we’ll be ready in six,” I pointed out. “Moving in together to avoid paperwork is a bad idea.”
“I wouldn’t be doing it to avoid paperwork,” she said softly. “I’d be doing it because I’m ready. We aren’t on the same page, that’s fine.”
“Honey, we’ve never had a fight. I’m still on my best behavior when you come over,” I told her.
“It’s fine, Eric,” she said again. “You don’t have to explain it to me.”
“I’m not explaining it, I’m trying to talk about it with you so we are on the same page,” I clarified.
“Maybe you should be on your standard behavior so I know what I’m getting myself into with you,” she suggested, tilting her head to look up at me.
“That means a lot of ESPN, basketball on TV and unmitigated release of bodily gases without apology,” I warned. “Once you let the genie out of the bottle he doesn’t want to go back in.”
“I need to know all that. How can I say I love you when I clearly don’t even know you?” She finally had a small smile on her pretty face.
“True. I reeled in a sucker,” I smirked.
“Or maybe you showed me what your heart and soul are made of. The rest is just greasy man packaging,” she suggested. “Eric, in case you forgot, I have a brother. I know how boys work.”
I narrowed my eyes at her. “I’m not greasy.”
“I’ve seen you greasy,” she pointed out.
“It comes with the job, but I don’t stay greasy.”
“No you don’t. You clean up nicely for me,” she said. “But I’ve also been into the bathroom twenty minutes after you take a shit. Your man-isms don’t scare me. I hate ESPN, but I don’t really watch too much TV anyway.”
“Yeah I’ve been in the bathroom twenty minutes after you take a shit, too. It ain’t all roses,” I chuckled.
“I never said it was. Point is, for me, I know what I need to know about you to be ready to live with you. As long as we’re reading the same book, I’m fine that we’re not on the same page right now.”
“So if I told you that I have a tendency to get up in the middle of the night to do home improvement stuff you don’t care? Power tools making all kinds of noise at ungodly hours and a huge mess left lying around until the project is done…”
“I’d probably get up and start tidying things in the morning,” she chuckled.
“And then I’d get annoyed with you for doing it,” I told her. If I was in the middle of something I didn’t want anyone messing with the stuff.
“Would you kick me out over it?”
“Okay.” Sookie stood on her toes to kiss me.
“So what annoying habits do you have?”
“None,” she lied. “I’m an angel.” Her smile widened and she said, “I like to listen to my music loud in the morning when I’m getting ready for work. And I sing along…”
“You also lie when you don’t want to admit something,” I told her. I wasn’t sure I liked that so much.
“I tell you the truth immediately though.”
“You mean after I catch you in a lie? I gotta tell you, that doesn’t make it okay. Like no, honey, I didn’t sleep with someone else. Oh you saw me? Then yeah I did. But I told the truth so no problem, right?”
“No, Eric,” she shook her head. “I don’t do that and you know it. If I don’t want to admit something, I do anyway. I may pout and I may shake my head no, but I always tell you the truth. Just now telling you that I’m an angel was a joke. Not a lie, and you know that.”
“Didn’t sound like a joke to me,” I shrugged. “And it’s not the first time you’ve done something like it.”
“When did I lie to you about something?”
“The Tesla offer. I remember asking if you were okay. You said yes but shook your head no. What the fuck is that? And the time you denied telling me things you did tell me you liked? You lie, Sookie,” I said.
“What did I deny telling you? And didn’t I just say that if I do say something I don’t want to admit I do? The yes, no thing was one of those things,” she said, pulling away from me.
“The point is that you lie about it first,” I said, my voice rising a little bit. “You don’t tell the truth until you get caught in the lie. That makes you a liar. Admitting the truth after the fact doesn’t erase the lie.”
“What did I deny telling you?” she asked again.
The kicker was that it was a dumb thing to lie about but it made me nervous that she’d lie about something bigger.
“The spanking thing you’re into,” I reminded her.
“Are you fucking kidding me right now?” she glared. “Teasing, joking, and lying are not all the same thing. If you think I was intentionally trying to lie to you then you’re mistaken.”
“I’m mistaken? Maybe you should pick your moments better or be more obvious because it sounds like you’re lying.” That angry bunny look didn’t scare me.
“Or maybe you shouldn’t take everything so literally. For someone who likes to joke a lot… you know what? If you think I’m lying about something, tell me on the fuckin’ spot that you think I’m lying, Eric. Holding shit back and then calling me a liar later is annoying.”
“Like being lied to?” I smirked.
“If I lie to you all the goddamn time, why do you even like me?”
Just because I felt like pissing her off right then I answered, “Nice tits.”
Her eyes started welling up before she turned to storm out of the kitchen. I heard her go back to the bedroom and slam the door.
I followed her and said, “Don’t get mad. That was a joke.”
Funny how she couldn’t tell either…
She came out of the room a few seconds later with her clothes piled in her arms and went down the hall to one of the other rooms, completely ignoring me.
“Oh come on, we’re teasing each other, right? No big deal.” I followed her down the hall.
“You’re being an asshole.” She tried closing the door in my face.
“I’m just trying to make a point,” I shrugged. “So you can give joke answers that sound legit but I can’t. Is that how this is going to go?”
“You don’t say something like that in the middle of a fuckin’ argument, Eric. Can you leave me alone now?” The tears were back in full force.
“Gladly.” I was too annoyed with her right then to comfort her. “Come on, Sawyer, let’s get out of the nuthouse,” I said as I walked away.
Sookie slammed the door behind me.
Sawyer followed me out of the house and we started walking around to the back of the house. I followed alongside the canal that led to the lake. It was a silly argument – on some level – that may not have happened without the dumbass prank Andre pulled, but we were bound to fight eventually. It was the nature of relationships.
Sawyer brought along his tennis ball and I threw it for him to fetch. We played for about an hour before I headed back to the house. If Sookie was really joking that was fine, but it didn’t sound like it to me. Maybe it was stupid to get annoyed over those little things but it was enough to make me wonder about bigger things. I loved her and I was sure of that but it didn’t mean I couldn’t call her out on things. In fact, that was exactly what were supposed to do.
So when I got back to the house I went straight to the other room she had moved her things into and knocked on the door.
“What?” she grumbled from the other side.
I opened the door and said, “I’m not trying to flog a dead horse here but I need to say this and I need you to hear it. I can’t be with someone I can’t be honest with. I despise liars. My Dad was a liar. I don’t want to be like him and I don’t want to live my life wondering if I’m hearing the truth. I can be an asshole but I’m honest, even when it hurts. That’s the way I am and it’s not changing. If that’s a deal breaker, if you need someone who sugarcoats things, I’m your man.”
“I don’t want you to sugarcoat things, I want you tell me when you think I’m lying about something and we can clear it up right then and there. I’m not a liar, Eric. It bothers me that you think I am. The Tesla thing, I was scared to admit I cared as much as I did. It was too soon to care that much.”
I nodded my understanding.
“Okay,” I said. “I’m sorry I made you cry.”
“Thank you,” she sniffled.
I nodded again and turned to leave her alone.
“Should I move my stuff back?” she asked.
“I’d like you to but it’s your call,” I answered.
“Do you really only like me for my tits?”
“Absolutely not. They’re like number seven on the list,” I said with a little smile.
“What’s number one?”
I walked over to the bed and sat down next to her.
“You have a good heart. It’s crazy big and generous and it wants to take care of others. That’s admirable,” I told her.
“And it’s housed under my seventh best trait?” She had a small smile on her face when she moved to straddle my lap.
“Exactly,” I nodded. “Your second best trait is your smile and I don’t care if that sounds cheesy as fuck because it’s the truth. I love your smile.”
“The fact that you look past my tits and see all that was your biggest draw,” she told me. “Now it’s more the fact that you are one of the most genuinely good people I’ve ever met.”
“Even though I’m an asshole?”
“Yeah, because you’re an asshole with a purpose,” she giggled. “You’re never just an asshole to be an asshole… you kinda were earlier, but I know you were trying to prove a point.”
“I should put that on a business card. Eric Northman: Asshole With a Purpose.”
“It is,” I agreed. “Still love me?”
“More than you could ever imagine,” she answered.
“Good.” I leaned in to kiss her.
“I hate feeling like this,” she sighed when she pulled back. “I feel sick from too many emotions.”
“Need another nap?” I stroked her hair back from her face.
“No. Just your snuggles.”
“You got it.” I picked her up when I stood and Sookie wrapped her legs around me. The bed in the master bedroom was definitely more comfortable. “Spoons or are you using me as your mattress?”
“Spoons,” she answered.
I let her down on the bed and Sookie curled up on her side. I slid in behind her and wrapped my arm around her ribs, holding her tight. I kissed along her shoulder and felt her relax a little when I reached her neck.
Our first fight and it wasn’t fatal. Not fun, but not fatal. We’d get past it and maybe have a better understanding of each other as a result. Sookie took a deep breath and slowly let it out. No matter how weird of a day it was, I still loved her. Even better? She loved me. That was pretty damn cool.