Chapter 22

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EPOV

When I leave Sookie’s house I go straight home to shower. I knew about those fucking pictures and I didn’t fucking delete them like I should have. It’s a weekend so I do what I always do for stress relief or when I need to think. I go to the bakery. It’s later in the afternoon by the time I get there. I don’t have any orders to work on for once so I decide to do something that’s going to take me a while and I need to focus on. I start cracking eggs, separating the yolks. I start making French macaroons, beating the egg whites by hand instead of using the mixer.
 

I don’t know when I actually fell in love with Sookie, but the words tumbled out when I was talking to her through the bathroom door. I figured out immediately that I meant them. She’s pretty much everything I didn’t know I wanted. I already feel things for her that I never felt about Nora.
 

There really is no comparison. Sookie is what I would call the anti-Nora, but I don’t want to think about her. I get this feeling in my chest when I’m with her, when I even think about her. It aches to be away from her. Right now my fucking heart is aching, purely because I’m a fucking idiot.
 

I spend the rest of the day in the bakery. I keep my phone with me just in case Sookie calls or text messages me. She doesn’t. I decide to give her three days before I go after her. I just hope she calls me tomorrow. I don’t like this. It’s my own fucking fault, but I don’t fucking like it.

***

 

Day three with no word from Sookie I’m in my kitchen making fucking éclairs when there’s a knock on my front door. When I look around I notice I have a lemon meringue pie, the fuckin’ macaroons, cookies, a bundt cake, two pecan pies, and a turtle cheesecake.
 

I shake my head and go to the front door. I let out a sigh of relief when I see Sookie on the other side of the door.
 

“Hey,” I greet her.
 

“Hi,” she replies. She’s wearing way more makeup than usual but she’s not especially dressed up from what I can tell.
 

“Come in.” I take a step back to let her in.
 

Sookie steps inside and takes her boots off, leaving them on the runner by the door so she doesn’t track water or slush everywhere she goes.
 

“I have pastries…” I don’t know what to say other than sorry.
 

“I’m not hungry,” she tells me.
 

“Sookie, I really am so sorry,” I tell her again.
 

She unzips her coat to reveal an old flannel shirt that was probably her brother’s or her dad’s at some point. Instead of tossing her coat aside casually like she would usually do, she hangs it on a hook by the door.
 

“What would you do if you were me?” Sookie asks me.
 

I’ve thought about this more than a few times over the last couple days.
 

“Honestly, I’d be just as mad, if not even more upset. It would crush my heart. I don’t like thinking about you with other boyfriends. It makes me sick to my stomach. What I would’ve done? I’d probably throw the phone and shatter it against a wall before storming out.”
 

“And then what?”
 

“I would accept your apology, and I’m not just saying that because I want you to accept mine, but because it’s true.”
 

Sookie nods but stays quiet. She runs her hands through her hair a few times and when she tilts her head toward the light in the living room I can see she’s exhausted.
 

“Are you sure you want to be in a relationship?” she asks me.
 

“Yes,” I reply without hesitation. “I’ve been sick without you.”
 

“Jason told me you suggested he hook up with her,” Sookie says.
 

“I did. I realized what I was doing after I did it. I’m not the best at this relationship stuff, in case you haven’t figured that out. I’ve only been in love one other time, Sookie and what I feel for you… It doesn’t even compare to what I felt the last time. I’m a dumb, fuckin’ idiot. I’ve never cheated on you, and I never will, but I can’t promise I won’t say or do dumb things.”
 

Sookie reaches up to rub her eyes. They’re puffy and a little red.
 

“And if those pictures cost you this relationship, were they worth it?” she asks.
 

“No,” I shake my head. My heart feels like it’s about to beat out of my chest. “Nothing is worth losing you.”
 

“Talk is cheap,” she shrugs. “I’ve thought about it and I realized that I mostly feel like I’m a glorified fuck buddy. The effort between us isn’t equal,” Sookie says. “You were more of a boyfriend when you weren’t my boyfriend, ironically.”
 

“You’re so much more than that,” I try to assure her. “Please, let me prove it to you,” I plead.
 

“I wasted a decade of my life on someone who strung me along and lied to me every single day. Now I know you’re not Trey, but right now I don’t trust you and it’s going to take time to earn it back,” she says.
 

“Please, I swear to to you I’ll do everything I possibly can to show you you can trust me. I promise I won’t break it,” I beg. I feel like  I’m going to throw up.
 

“This is your last chance. Three strikes and you’re out. For good,” Sookie says seriously.
 

I let out a breath and take a tentative step forward. I reach out to rest my hand on her arm.  “Can I?” I ask quietly for a hug.
 

She nods and lets me wrap my arms around her tightly. I take a deep breath, inhaling her scent.
 

“Come on, lay down,” I whisper. I know she’s exhausted. “I don’t have to lay with you, but you need some rest.”
 

Sookie doesn’t fight me on it.
 

“I haven’t slept in two days,” she admits.
 

“I’m so sorry, baby,” I whisper. I kiss her forehead and lead her up the stairs. “Do you want me to stay with you?”
 

“Just until I fall asleep.”
 

I pull the comforter back and wait for her to lie down before I slide in behind her. I wrap my arm around her and nuzzle into her hair.
 

It probably takes less than three minutes for Sookie to pass out. I don’t go anywhere. The fuckin’ éclairs can wait. I replay out whole relationship through my head and I realize I have been a prick. I didn’t take it as seriously as I should. It probably would’ve been different if we didn’t start with sex, not that that’s an excuse. All I know is from this point on I’m going to make sure she knows what she means to me. I’m going to do the things I did before I really even knew her. She means a hell of a lot more to me than any other woman ever has and I need Sookie to know that.

***

 

I end up back downstairs working on the éclairs. The chocolate is cooling when Sookie comes downstairs several hours later.
 

“Hey, sleepyhead,” I say over my shoulder. I’m cleaning up my mess.
 

“Hi.”
 

“How’d you sleep?” I ask, grabbing my dish towel to dry my hands.
 

“Okay,” she answers with a shrug. If it wasn’t already obvious I’m still in the doghouse with her, Sookie doesn’t come over for a wake-up snuggle like she normally would.
 

“I made dinner just in case you were hungry… Plus all the desserts…”
 

“No, I’m fine,” she says. “Thanks.”
 

“When was the last time you ate?”
 

“I don’t know, this morning, I guess.”
 

I look at the clock and see that it’s just past eight. I don’t care that she’s pissed still; I walk over and pull her into my arms.
 

“Sookie, you need to eat something,” I whisper.
 

“I’m not hungry,” she says. “I’ll eat when I am.”
 

“I don’t like it.” Not that it matters what I like. “Are you staying?”
 

“I don’t know,” she says as she pulls back.
 

“What do you know?” I ask.
 

“I could sleep for a week. That’s about it at this point.”
 

“Then go back up to bed,” I shrug. It’s obvious the only time I’m going to get to hug her now is when she’s asleep anyway. “I’m just cleaning this up and I can come up with you if you like.”
 

“If you want to. If you have other stuff to do I’ll be fine,” she tells me.
 

“I want to,” I assure her. “I wasn’t sleepy earlier and I needed to finish the éclairs. I’ve been in here the whole time… I made lasagna for when you’re hungry.”
 

Her nose crinkles. “I don’t really like lasagna. I ate it the last time you made it to be polite.”
 

Crazy woman.
 

“I can make you anything else,” I say. “The oven was on so it was easy. Plus I didn’t really make this one, it’s a store bought.”
 

“Eric, don’t worry about it. I’m not hungry, remember?”
 

“Yeah, but when you are, I’ll make whatever you want me to make.”
 

She nods and says, “I think I’m just going to go back to sleep.”
 

I do a quick check to make sure I don’t need to put anything away and I drop the dish towel on the edge of the sink. I walk over and take her hand.
 

“Then let’s go to bed,” I say and tug her to follow me.
 

Sookie follows me upstairs to my bedroom and gets back into what’s become her side of the bed. When I crawl in I spoon her again.
 

“Is this okay?” I ask.
 

“Yeah,” she whispers.
 

I rest my hand on her hip and rub up and down in a completely non- sexual way. I don’t want her to think I’m coming on to her.
 

“I love you, Sookie,” I tell her again. “I’ve been miserable without you.”
 

She nods her head and a few seconds later I feel her shoulders shaking. I press my chest against her back and wrap my arm around her in a tight hug.
 

“I’m so sorry,” I whisper again. I don’t want her to cry. It breaks my heart.
 

Sookie turns over and buries her face in my chest. The crying doesn’t stop right away, and when it does it’s because she’s fallen asleep. I keep my arm just as tight around her. I’m exhausted, but I don’t want to fall asleep and miss this feeling. I’m scared that when I wake up she’ll be gone and that thought is unbearable. Talk about your fuckin’ wake up call.

 

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24 thoughts on “Chapter 22

  1. i just dont gett that he hasnt been making an effort? they’ve both been so fucking casual and having fun, he’s just been going with the flow? I just dont like that she instantly has all the leverage, like she can do no wrong…hmmm

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  2. I feel so special. I get 2 chapters on my birthday. Yay Me… I knew they were going to have a shit ton of problems if or when she found those pics. The worst part is if she hadn’t found them Eric had no intentions of deleting them. That is very disrespectful of Sookie and their relationship. He better get his head on straight or he’s gonna lose her forever.

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  3. Eric has on two separate occasions had to remind himself he was in a relationship before he did something stupid with other women. Glad that Eric is making progress and that he realizes what he’s got with Sookie.

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  4. Still having the WTF moment here. Eric made a mistake, he’s never lied, he’s never cheated, he’s been very honest – brutally honest – from the very beginning. However, he makes mistakes. He had sex with what’s-her-name when he wasn’t even involved with Sookie, took pics of the girl – for Alcide – and stupidly never removed them from his phone (OK, I’m old so bear with me because I will never understand this generation’s need to record this shit for posterity, and it is posterity, people. It NEVER goes away even with the delete button.). It’s a mistake, he’s been an asshole, and even an idiot about this & many other things. What about Sookie? She’s lied, she’s cheated – on two men – she’s brought other women into the mix though everyone was willing, but let’s not the crazy of Aude & the potential of what she may brought to Eric’s life. Eric got rid of the picture that the girl sent him and thought it just as wrong as Sookie when it happened. Now Sookie’s acting in this poor, woebegone manner? He’s on Strike Two? She lost at bat a long time ago & is now up again, and he loves her! She’s lucky he didn’t slam the door in HER face! Argh! This is one the times I’m not taking her side. Stay strong, my ass. She needs to stop playing head games.

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      • I think what I was trying to say in all that rambling confusion was it’s all cool at night with some alcohol thrown in and Sookie choosing the woman – BUT – when the sun comes up, the morals come with it and Sookie has designated herself as Morality Chooser. Eric never got a vote.

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      • I got what you said. I think Eric just doesn’t really quite know were the line is drawn because Sookie throws him with the surprises. I think that’s why he’s always asking her questions first.

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    • I totally agree with you. She’s putting all the blame on Eric for all the things going wrong on their relationship. I didn’t like when she said “I mostly feel like I’m a glorified fuck buddy. The effort between us isn’t equal.” I mean, seriously? She’s the one who likes to bring other women in the mix (not that he complained about it), but she never complained either. And it’s not like Eric asked for Caitlyn to send him that pic.. I’m not saying he’s not wrong about not deleting those other ones, but come on. It’s like Sookie is waiting for him to be like her ex when she’s the one who has done the cheating and the lying, just like you said. And this thing about three strikes? I’m not even going to talk about it. It’s ridiculous. I’m totally with you, I’m not taking her side on this one. I hope Eric and Sookie come to their senses before it’s too late for them.

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      • It feels good to know someone’s comprehending the same as me. Thank you.

        I feel so badly about ranting all over Meg & Missy’s blog as I did. I rant, and then get embarrassed.

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    • Everything msbuffy said! Every single thing. Eric isn’t the cheater in this relationship – Sookie is. Not this time – but she cheated in Trey…with Eric. Buuut.. when Eric found out he was inadvertently made the *other man* he walked, refusing to be her sex doll while she cheated on another man. Sorry I don’t get her high and mighty woe is me, ‘two strikes, one more your ooouuut buddy’ baloney! Eric is flawed and he’s fucked up a bunch, but if Sookie is so adamant about keeping score she needs a wake up call and hard look in the mirror. Eric should have told her to take her righteous whiney ass home, come talk to hi when and if she grows up and stops playing games and playing with his head. Sorry for the rant, but I want to slap her. She’s a “do as I say, not as I do” girl.

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      • I too felt bad about ranting! I’ve been quietly reading (with many questions lately) but still quiet….until Sookies ‘three strikes’ caused me to erupt. Maybe because I’m older but I don’t think it’s a way to think about or view a relationship, especially when bringing in equality. Sets her up as judge and jury with Eric walking on eggshells in fear one slip of the tongue sends him away. Sorry for ranting

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        • Ladies, ladies no need to apologize. You’re entitled to your opinions. We still love you. It’d be nice if characters behaved perfectly all the time but it would also get boring if there was no growth or evolution. Missy and I like characters with flaws. You’re never going to get Stepford characters from us, but that’s the fun of it and I’m happy their flaws invoke such powerful responses, even if they aren’t favorable.

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  5. Thanks for posting this chapter so quickly after the last one! I for one needed it! (Of course now I want another one too….)

    Yes he was wrong to keep them, but they have both been so casual about their relationship. How about a frank conversation about what each one of them expects and wants out of this relationship?!

    Thanks again for sharing!

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  6. i think sookie was doing casual because the trey issue. when the phone issue happened, i think thats when she really figured out how much she loves eric

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  7. I just don’t understand her logic that the pictures are almost unforgivable but they were with someone else the night before and that’s not an issue at all (especially after the Aude situation). I understand that she brought the other woman into the mix and wanted it to happen but I think it sends mixed signals. Eric didn’t do anything to deceive her. He told Caitlin to stop and he deleted the first picture. He just didn’t think about deleting the other ones. It’s not like he was looking at them. He’s been 100% committed to her.

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  8. I think the pictures fall fall under the same category as ex relationship memorabilia .ie. cards letters pictures from an ex. His were just a lot more intimate. Why would Sookie not be upset about them. and i don’t think she’s sending mixed signals with the threesomes. Once the girl is gone the experience is a memory. He was carrying around evidence of his fling with catlyn everyday and could have looked at them whenever. The fact that he didn’t doesn’t make it ok. And he is treating her like a fuck buddy. They never seem so do anything out in public except the one date Sookie took him on.

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  9. It just snuck up on them and I say them because if Sookie didn’t love Eric she wouldn’t have been so mad. They need to take this relationship seriously and stop inviting other women into it.

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  10. I guess I’m just getting old. I don’t quite understand how having photos is wrong but going out and picking up someone for the night is ok. If Eric picked up a girl for a threesome and then invited Sookie along would she be ok with it. Look forward to how this plays out.

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  11. An excellent chapter! Very emotional… I think that both feel so stricken in this situation speaks volumes for how they feel about each other which is the good part… The not so good part is that they nearly broke up and that Sookie nearly decided Eric wasn’t worth the effort. It does feel that Sookie is being somewhat overly strict and I am not sure I like the idea of strikes in a relationship, keeping score is a recipe for disaster IMO. However I understand it mainly because of Trey’s betrayal although it is hardly fair to Eric that he is now paying the price for that… I think that perhaps unconsciously Sookie’s reaction, not just the unmitigated rage but the crying and sadness, feels a reaction to the hurt that perhaps she still feels from Trey’s betrayal? Perhaps I am reading too much into it but her reaction has been pretty intense esp. examining whether the relationship with Eric is worth the effort. If she is mad and crying and not sleeping because of Eric, clearly the relationship is worth it as otherwise she wouldn’t feel so strongly about it. But if she is not sure then perhaps the (over?)reaction is a symptom of lingering upset from Trey times (which to me would not be unexpected as discovering a 10 year long relationship was a fraud is quite the trauma). At any rate, brilliant story and writing!

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