Sookie’s cute. She’s getting all dolled you to meet my parents, even though she’s already met Mom. I think it’s sweet and honestly, it looks good for me. It shows them that I have enough self-worth to want to bring home a sweet girl with good manners, unlike the chicks I refused to introduce them to before rehab.
She’s still flying high from the house news, which is pretty fucking amazing news. I’m a little sad that I won’t be staying in it with her for the first couple weeks, but I’m going with her when she signs the paperwork. I’ll help her move, get settled, drop off most of my clothes, and head to stay with my grandparents. I originally said it would be a month, but that amount of time isn’t looking so likely anymore. I’ve had my taste of the good life and I can’t wait to get the show on the road.
“Are you ready?” I call from her bed. She’s been in the bathroom for an hour, or so it seems.
“Just getting my earrings on!” she hollers back. “We’re stopping to get your mom flowers, by the way.”
“Okay,” I reply as I sit up so I can put my shoes on. “You know I’m broke right now, right? I can’t afford to buy her flowers,” I say as I tie my laces.
“Did I ask you for money?” Sookie counters. The bathroom door opens and there she is.
I finish what I’m doing to sit up and look at her. “You are stunning,” I whisper as I stand.
“Thank you,” she smiles and heads for her closet. Sookie pulls out a pair of sparkly five inch heels and slips them on her feet.
I walk up to her wrapping my arms around her waist, and tilt to kiss the side of her mouth. “You know this is just my parents, right?” I ask with a small smile. Don’t get me wrong, the shoes are awesome and I’m sure her ass looks amazing, but to me my mom and dad are just Mom and Dad. She could be in a burlap sack and they honestly wouldn’t care… maybe a little.
“I want to look nice,” she reasons.
“You do, baby, thank you.” I don’t look like I deserve to stand next to her, but that’s beside the point.
“Are you ready to go?” she asks.
“Yep. Am I leaving my stuff here?” I ask. I only pulled out what I would need to wear today just in case.
“That’s up to you,” she shrugs. “If you think you’ll be sleeping over again, then sure.”
“It’s this or that cold, lonely guesthouse,” I reason and take her hand so we can walk out to the garage. I’m sure they’d let me move back into the house but I’m not sure I want to.
“You know I could always come stay with you and warm the place up a little,” Sookie winks as she gets behind the wheel.
“Mmm, yes you could. So many more surfaces to fuck you on…” I get into the passenger side and pull on my seatbelt. “I’m a little nervous to see it, you know? That was where I did my last line.”
“As long as there aren’t any lines waiting for you I think you’ll be okay.” She hits the button on her visor to open the garage and then starts the car.
“I highly doubt that. Mom said they found my stash, so I’m guessing they flushed it.”
“Probably.” Sookie backs out of her garage and onto the street. She closes the garage door and aims her car down the road. “What kind of flowers does your mom like?”
“She’s a rose fan,” I say. “She honestly likes anything.”
“Okay,” she nods. “There’s a florist down the street from my yoga studio so I’ll just run in really quick.”
“Alright,” I nod and reach for her hand. It’s weird being a passenger driving around town. I usually drive everywhere I go. “Are you keeping this car in Maine or are you going to trade it in?” I ask. I have an Escalade and don’t see the point in trading it in. It’s already paid off and even though it’s a luxury SUV, it still has four wheel drive.
“I love Betsey but I know I can’t keep her forever. I’m not sure how she’ll do in the winter once it starts to snow and get icy,” she replies.
“Well, I have an SUV if you want to keep her and share my car in the winter,” I offer.
“We can figure that out later,” she shrugs. “I’m not too worried about it right now.”
“Yeah, I’m just thinking about it. Moving across the country to live with someone is a big deal. I’m pretty fucking excited,” I smile.
“Me too,” she says. “How do you feel about dogs?”
“As long as it’s not a long haired animal, I’m fine. I’m allergic,” I tell her. “Short haired dogs I don’t seem to react to.”
“So if I got a short hair you wouldn’t mind having one?”
“Not at all,” I shrug. “Plus, it would be good practice for kids.”
Sookie smiles and says, “I think they’re good company. We’ll sort of be out of the way by ourselves most of the time so it’ll be nice to have little friends to play with.”
“Yeah,” I nod. “How many do you want?”
“I’d be fine with just one but if you want one of your own, that’s okay with me too. I think two is enough.”
“They’re pack animals. If we have the space we might as well get two,” I shrug. “I wouldn’t want one to get lonely when we’re gone together.”
“That’s fine with me,” she nods.
All this talk about animals and kids is making me want to have them now. I know it’s not the right time for children, but I know I’m going to spoil the shit out of the dogs. Oddly, meeting the right girl is fucking with me and makes me want to be all family man and shit. Huh… who would’ve guessed?
“You ready to meet the folks?” I ask, kissing the back of her hand.
“Yep. You could have mentioned your house is big enough for a small African country to occupy,” she says.
“This is smaller than the last one,” I chuckle as we make our way to the front door. “The guesthouse is about the size of yours.”
“Jesus. How many frequent visitors do your parents have that they needed to buy the Overlook Hotel?” Sookie chuckles.
“Nah, it’s not that big,” I tell her. “They bought this one when I turned eighteen. The guesthouse was my gift, and a car…” They tried to buy my love.
“You poor thing,” she says without sympathy.
“It was a rough life,” I chuckle as we get to the front door. I don’t have my house keys so I ring the doorbell and wait.
A couple minutes pass before Mom opens the door with a big grin on her face.
“You’re here!” She throws her arms around me in a tight hug.
“Hi, Mama,” I smile, hugging her back. When I pull back I nod at Sookie and say, “This is my girlfriend, Sookie. Baby, this is my mom Kirsten.” I know they’ve met, but a formal meeting is nice.
“It’s very nice to see you again, Sookie,” Mom says and leans over to hug her too.
“Likewise. These are for you.” Sookie gives Mom the flowers after they pull back.
“They’re beautiful,” Mom grins. “I love white roses. Come in, come in. Lunch is almost ready. Luna is making her famous chicken enchiladas.”
“Mmm, I haven’t had Luna’s cooking in so fucking long…” She’s an amazing cook. I miss it. “Where’s Dad?”
“In his studio, where else?” Mom sighs. “He’s been out there for nineteen hours a day since his confrontation with Pete.”
“Uh… is he taking visitors?” I sigh.
“I’ve been giving him a wide berth, but I’m sure he’d be happy to see you and meet Sookie. He’s not upset with you, Eric. He’s mad at himself for not protecting you,” she tells me.
“Sookie, will you be okay with Mom while I go get him?”
“I think so,” she answers.
“We’ll be fine,” Mom assures me. “I’ll just get out all of your embarrassing baby pictures.”
“Good luck. She watched me knock my head on a bar trying to hide a hard-on. I doubt I’ll be embarrassed by anything you show her.”
I give Sookie a quick kiss and head out the backdoor to get to the studio that’s next to the guesthouse. When I get there I walk in. Dad’s on his drums, beating the shit out of them. He looks up when the light from outside leaks in.
“Hey, Pop,” I say, closing the door behind me.
He nods and keeps going.
I sigh and pull up a chair to sit across from the drum set. I’ll watch him until he decides he’s done. I used to do this for hours when I was younger. It’s almost mesmerizing. That being said, he has someone here to meet him and he should stop being rude.
“Dad, stop!” I yell so he can hear me.
It takes a few seconds for the drumming to stop.
“Come out and meet Sookie,” I tell him.
“In a minute.” Uh huh.
“No, now,” I say. “It’ll take two fucking minutes.”
“Fine,” he grumbles and gets up from the set. He tosses the sticks down by the mixing board and walks out.
“Dad, if you’re going to be a dick never fucking mind,” I growl from behind him.
Dad keeps walking like he didn’t even hear me. He goes inside the house and slams the door behind him.
I stay out back for a minute so I don’t follow him in and punch him in the fucking head. What the fuck did I do to him? Why am I being punished for his friend’s fuck up? I guess it’s nothing new. I’m not as surprised as one would think. I take a deep breath and go into the house. Dad is getting a beer from the fridge. I don’t even know if he’s said anything to anyone. I know Sookie can see the emotions written all over my face.
“Did you say hello?” I ask him. If Sookie’s going to be a part of the family she might as well see how we act together.
“Not yet.” He twists the cap off the beer and takes a long pull.
“Sookie, the crabby old man is my husband, Jimmy. Jimmy, this is Eric’s girlfriend,” Mom says.
“It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Northman,” Sookie says with a bright smile.
“Yeah, you too,” Dad says without looking at her.
There’s no way I could stay here with his fucking attitude.
“That’s a really cool snake tattoo,” Sookie says. “I just got my first one a few weeks ago.”
“Thanks, all the guys in the band have them,” he tells her, ignoring the comment about getting her first tattoo.
“How long did it take to finish?” Sookie asks.
“Dunno,” he shrugs. More like he doesn’t remember because he was too fucking high, but that’s not what we’re here to discuss.
“Are you staying in here to have lunch with us?” I ask.
“We’ll see.” Lovely. I shake my head at him and go to the fridge to get a bottle of water. I see the beer and it takes a shitload of willpower not to take a bottle.
I’m actually surprised Mom hasn’t said anything about his attitude.
“Jimmy, why don’t you get cleaned up and join us for lunch? Luna’s making enchiladas,” Mom says.
“Yeah.” He downs his beer and leaves the room through the back door, headed toward the studio again.
“Is there a reason I’m being punished?” I ask Mom.
“It’s not you,” Mom insists.
“Could’ve fucking fooled me,” I grumble.
“You know he’s not good with emotions. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree on that one,” she says.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I shrug.
“That right there,” she chuckles. “Come on, Sookie, I’ll give you a tour of the house.”
Sookie gives me a smile and follows Mom out of the kitchen.
I take the opportunity to go out to the guesthouse. I’m nervous about what I might find. I know Mom said she found my stash, but I know there are places she wouldn’t have even guessed to look.
When I walk into through the door I notice the house has been cleaned. All of the bongs and shit are gone. That’s good. I go straight to my room and check “my spot” which is under a floor board next to my bed. As expected the baggy I had there still is. There’s a straw, razor, mirror and three joints…
With my emotions so high I want to fucking light up or snort a line really quick, but I won’t. I can’t. I’ve come so far and I refuse to lose the woman walking through the big house with Mom. That’s not worth it…
I don’t realize how long I’ve been standing here looking at the drugs until I hear the front door open and Mom still talking to Sookie about Lord fucking knows what.
I love Kirsten. She’s so friendly and she has a great sense of humor. I guess she’d have to with some of the shit she’s been through. When we locate Eric in his room he’s holding a bag that’s got a decent amount of cocaine and a few joints in it.
“I thought we got it all,” Kirsten sighs.
“Don’t worry, Mom, I’m throwing it out,” he tells her.
“Damn right you are,” she says firmly.
He shakes his head and walks into what I assume is the bathroom. A few seconds later I hear the toilet flush. A few times.
“You should have seen how many flushes it took to get rid of what we found,” Kirsten says with a shake of her head. “That boy must have a vacuum cleaner for a nose.”
I’m not sure how to respond to that so I stay quiet.
Wait… is that marijuana smoke I smell?
“Goddamnit, Jimmy,” Kirsten grumbles and marches out of the guesthouse.
Eric comes out of the bathroom a few seconds later with an odd look on his face.
“Your dad is apparently getting stoned,” I tell him.
“Fucking great,” he sighs.
I walk over and give him a hug.
“This is a very nice house,” I say.
“Mmm, yeah,” he says, wrapping his arms around my shoulders. He kisses my temple as he squeezes me.
“If things weren’t so tense I’d offer to do something dirty,” I smile up at him.
“You know you’re the best girlfriend ever, right?” he smiles back before he tilts his head to kiss me.
“Mmm… you can thank me later,” I reply. I give him another kiss and then pull back. “So… show me around. Any other hiding places that need to be pillaged?”
“Yeah, I had one in the game room too,” he admits. Eric takes my hand and leads me out of his bedroom down a hallway to another room with a pool table, dart board, air hockey table and a giant television. I’m sure there’s video games hiding in the cabinet under the TV.
He moves to a floor board next to the TV and lifts it, pulling out another bag of coke.
“You’d think I was selling this shit,” he chuckles.
“Nope. This is why I was damn near forty pounds underweight when you met me.”
“Do you miss it?” I ask.
“I miss the initial rush,” he says, “I’m doing fine though. With the shit Dad is doing I was a little tempted to do a line real quick, but I decided it’s not worth losing you or all the hard work I’ve done over the last three months.”
“No it’s not,” I agree. “I’m proud of you for not doing it.”
“Thanks,” he smiles, “I’ll be right back. I want to flush this.”
“I’ll be here,” I nod. I look out a set of French doors and spot Jimmy outside. I decide to try again with him. Maybe if he’s high he’ll be a little more relaxed. I step outside and close the door behind me.
Jimmy looks exactly the way I would expect an aging rockstar to look. He’s got full sleeves of tattoos, thinning hair and it’s obvious the drugs took a toll on him physically. All the same, it’s obvious where Eric got his height and build from. They have the same eyes too. He’s a good looking man. I’m not taking his attitude personally, even if there’s a part of me that wants to slap him silly.
He looks at me and then looks away, taking a toke off of his joint before he puts it out on the sole of his boot. Jimmy turns away and walks back to studio. I probably shouldn’t, but I follow him. There are record plaques on the wall charting the band’s success. I’m not personally familiar with his music.
I smile when I see a picture of a young Eric sitting with Jimmy behind a drum set. It’s a cute picture.
“He was so little,” I say.
“Yeah, he didn’t stay that way.”
“No, he sure didn’t,” I laugh.
“He’s always been big for his age.”
“Oh yeah? Big baby, I’m guessing,” I smile.
“Hmm, nine pounds,” he tells me and leans over. When he sits back up he has a small frame that he hands to me. It looks like Eric’s newborn picture.
“Aww he looks like Uncle Fester without the dark circles around his eyes,” I chuckle. He was a chubby, bald baby but completely adorable.
“A little bit,” Jimmy says with a half smile.
“What was he like?” I ask.
“He was a good baby. Real happy. We were still young though and had a ton of energy to play with him.”
“Is he good at playing the drums? Eric told me you taught him. I don’t think I have a musical bone in my body.”
“Eric’s an amazing drummer; he won’t play in front of people for some reason,” he shrugs. “He’s good at pretty much anything he tries.”
I want to tell Jimmy he should tell his son that, but I don’t.
“Do you play any other instruments?” I ask.
“I play a little guitar and some piano,” he tells me.
“So you’re a one man band,” I smile.
“If I had to,” he smiles.
“I took piano lessons for a month before I started ice skating. It wasn’t for me. My fingers wouldn’t cooperate,” I say.
“Have Eric teach you,” he suggests. “He’s actually a really good teacher.”
“He never mentioned playing piano. I’ll put him in charge of the kids’ musical education.”
“Yeah,” I nod. “Not immediately, but someday not too long from now. See I don’t believe for one second that Eric is as unloved as he thinks he is. But I know he wants the family he didn’t have as a child. We’re both ready for normal and boring.”
“Eric is far from unloved, Sookie. We thought we were doing what was right for him. Apparently we weren’t.”
“I know. My parents always said they did the best they could with what they had. Right about now my mom is probably starting supper and my dad is repairing a fence post or checking with the foreman to make sure everything is going smoothly in the fields. I missed a lot of my childhood too because I was traveling for competitions or practicing until I was ready to pass out from exhaustion. I know my parents are proud of my accomplishments, but I think they blame themselves a little bit too for the way I turned out.
“If they had insisted that I slow down and just enjoy being a kid, I wouldn’t have gotten hurt and met that quack. It’s not their fault, of course, but they love me. My dad, especially, regrets not being more protective of me. Maybe he should have been, but why wouldn’t we trust my doctor? I forgive him for it. He didn’t know and if he had, he would have done everything in his power to keep me safe,” I say.
“I think we just had an overabundance of everything and really didn’t know what we were doing with Eric. We should’ve been better.”
“Well we both know there’s no changing the past, but anything is possible going forward. I know it would mean a lot to Eric to have a better relationship with you,” I tell him. “And I would really like for our kids to have all of their grandparents in their lives. I think they’ll be able to learn a lot from you.”
“If you have kids with my son, I’ll be there when I can,” he nods. “I’m not mad at Eric; I just don’t know what to say to him right now.”
“I can’t tell you exactly what to say, but before I left rehab he told me no one ever told him he was good at anything. Maybe start there,” I suggest.
“We’ll see, Sookie.”
“It’s just a thought. I know it’s not my business. Are you going to join us for lunch?”
“I don’t think I will today.”
“Maybe next time,” I smile. I hand him back his frame. “Thanks for showing me that.”
“Keep it. I have another one.”
“Thank you,” I nod and then turn to leave the studio.
“Thanks for coming in to talk to me.”
“Of course. You’re almost as tough a nut to crack as your son,” I chuckle.
“Now you know why we’re not talking,” he says.
“One of you will give in eventually. Enjoy your drums,” I say and walk out of the studio. Eric is standing nearby and by his expression I’m guessing he overheard part of the conversation I had with his dad but I don’t know what part. “You okay?” I ask.
“Yeah,” he says, holding his arms out for a hug.
I go to him, wrapping my arms around his waist. “Your dad gave me a souvenir.”
“Oh yeah?” he says, kissing my forehead.
“Mmhmm. A framed picture of the cutest, chubbiest baby I’ve ever seen.”
“Hmm, you can compare it to the little nine pound babies I knock you up with,” he smiles.
“Will you teach them piano? Your dad told me you’re a good teacher.”
“Sure,” he chuckles. “I haven’t played in a few years.”
“You should play for me sometime,” I suggest.
He snorts and says, “Sure, I’ve only ever played in front of my parents.”
“Then it’ll be your big debut,” I smile.
“Anything for you, baby,” he whispers and tilts down to give me a sweet kiss.
“Mmm… let’s go check on those enchiladas,” I whisper.
“You’re going to love them. If you don’t we may have to reassess our relationship.”
I laugh and take his hand as we walk toward the house. I don’t know if the talk I had with Jimmy will do any good, but I’m happy I had it.