Chapter 20

We’ve been in the house a month. I fucking love it. I’ve been back and forth to visit my grandparents a couple times, once with Sookie. Grandma lost her shit when she realized I’m dating an Olympic medalist. She follows that shit like small town Texans follow high school football.

 

Now Sookie and I are at the local ice rink. I promised her a challenge and I always make good on my promises.

 

“You sure you’re up for this?” I ask as I put my skates on. I know she’s come out to practice a few times, so have I. I just wanted to be able to move and not fall on my ass the second I hit the ice.

 

“I’m ready,” she grins. She’s dressed in a pink figure skating costume with sparkly tulips on it. “You know these are the same skates I was wearing when I skated circles around fellow Olympians. It’s not too late for you to forfeit.”

 

“Nope. You should know by now I don’t back out on bets. Plus, I’m prepared to kick your cute little ass out there,” I smirk.

 

“Okay,” she says like it’s my funeral. “How do you want to do this?”

 

“Hmm… how about we start by getting on the ice,” I suggest as I stand up.

 

“Obviously,” she snickers and heads for the gate to get out on the ice. In the blink of an eye Sookie’s at center ice.

 

Once I’m on the ice I take my time skating over to where she is with all the confidence in the world. When I reach her I take her hands and start to move backwards.

 

“How about we start back at the wall and race to the other wall and back again?” I suggest.

 

“You mean the length of the rink, right?”

 

“Yes,” I chuckle.

 

“Sounds good to me,” Sookie shrugs. “I feel like I should give you a head start.”

 

“You think so, huh?” I smirk, cocking an eyebrow.

 

“Mmhmm, but let’s just start at the same time and see what happens,” she winks. Sookie squeezes my hand and says, “Good luck, babe.”

 

When we get to the wall I dip down to give her a toe curling kiss. When I pull back I whisper, “I just hope you still love me when I win.”

 

“And I hope you remember to sort the loads before you wash them.”

 

I just smile at her and let go of her hands.

 

“Ready?” I ask.

 

“Yep,” she nods.

 

What she doesn’t know is that I have a plan. Before Michelle and Corbett left I had a talk with them and got their approval to marry her. Michelle even told me she gave Sookie her grandmother’s ring. It’s in my pocket now.

 

“On the count of three. One. Two. Three.” Before I get three out she’s off like a fucking bullet.

 

I race off behind her, keeping up pretty well if I do say so myself. We hit the other wall about the same time and on the way back I intentionally fall, crying out when I go down to catch her attention. As I’m pretending to be hurt on the ice I reach into my pocket and slip the ring onto my pinky. Sookie turns herself around, skating backward toward the wall.

 

“That is some weak acting, Northman,” she snickers as she coasts up to the wall. “Good thing we’re on ice. You’ll need some for that bruised ego.”

 

“Come help me up,” I grumble. Leave it to Sookie to ruin a perfectly planned proposal.

 

She skates toward me and then around me in circles. “Shouldn’t our positions be reversed here?”

 

I hold up the hand without the ring, hoping she’ll show me a little mercy.

 

“I want to hear you say that I’m the better skater first and then I’ll help you,” she says.

 

I shake my head no and roll to my side before I shift up to one knee.

 

“Sookie, come here,” I tell her quietly.

 

“Not until you say it,” she insists and skates in backward circles.

 

I slip the ring back in my pocket and get up. I head back to the gate to exit the ice. I’m already nervous enough. I don’t need her taunting me. Sookie doesn’t follow me. Instead she skates around the rink and when she’s built up enough speed, she does one of those fancy jumps, landing perfectly, and keeps on going.

 

Watching her, I start to think maybe this is a mistake anyway. Everything she fucking touches goes perfectly. I’m just a fuckup, rich kid that happened to meet her at the right time. Hell, I even fucked up a proposal. She’s too fucking good for me and I’ve always known that.

 

I pull the ring out to study it. It’s going to look amazing on her finger. Now I’m starting to think I’m not the one that should be putting it there. I hate that. It makes me physically fucking ill to think about anyone else touching her. I’m still looking down when she comes to a stop on the ice in front of me and gasps.

 

“What are you doing with Gran’s ring?” Sookie asks.

 

I look up and I’m sure she can see the emotion written all over my face.

 

“I was going to ask you to marry me with it,” I admit.

 

Her eyes go wide and her mouth drops open in surprise. I sigh and look back down.

 

“The proposal got fucked up and I started thinking you’re too fucking good for someone like me,” I whisper. “I fuck up everything I touch while you’re always so fucking perfect.”

 

“I’m not perfect, not even close,” she says.

 

“You are to me,” I say, looking up at her again. “You’re the only person I know that’s more beautiful with bed hair and morning breath. You’re graceful, in everything you do, not just on the ice. You looked at me and took pity on my ass after I smacked my head on a bar. You’re patient with Noah and Allie in a way that I never could be. You have a good family, which is something I’ve never had or even know how to achieve…”

 

“Are you breaking up with me?” she whispers.

 

“I want to marry you, Sookie, but–”

 

“But what?” She looks scared.

 

“I’m not good enough…”

 

“That’s bullshit, Eric.”

 

I shake my head and wipe my cheek. I didn’t know I was crying. I take a deep breath and decide if I fuck up anything else for this girl I won’t be able to live with myself. I step back out onto the ice and take Sookie’s hand. I pull her along with me to the middle of the rink and drop down to one knee.

 

“Sookie Stackhouse,” I start, pausing to take a deep breath. “Will you marry me?” I hold up the ring with a shaky hand.

 

“Of course I’ll marry you,” she answers.

 

I slide the ring on her finger and stand up. I cup her face and tilt my head down to give her a sweet kiss.

 

“I just don’t want to ruin anything for you,” I tell her, resting my forehead on hers.

 

“You won’t,” she whispers. “I love you, silly man.”

 

“I love you too,” I whisper back. I pull her into my arms in a tight hug.

 

“You’re crazy, you know that, right?”

 

“No, I’m not,” I say quietly. “Are you ready to get off the ice?”

 

“Uh huh.”

 

I lift her hand to kiss her fingers. As expected the ring looks gorgeous on her. I take her hand to skate to the gate and when I step off I really do twist my ankle.

 

“Motherfucker,” I grumble as I fall onto the bench.

 

“So maybe no more skating for you,” Sookie smiles as she puts the covers over her blades before stepping off the ice. She crouches down in front of me to cover my blades too and then starts untying my laces for me.

 

“Yeah, I’ll let you teach the kids to skate,” I sigh. I can already feel my ankle swelling. “Although I’d probably fuckup trying to knock you up at this point.”

 

Sookie stops what she’s doing and looks me in my eyes. “Stop talking about my fiancé that way,” she says firmly.

 

I shake my head with a little smile. “That proposal was supposed to be–”

 

“Stop,” she cuts me off. “You’re always telling me I shouldn’t be so negative. How about you take your own advice?”

 

“Okay,” I reply quietly. I reach down to grab the back of her head and pull her face to mine as I lean down. “I’m a lucky son of a bitch, you know that?” I whisper before pressing my lips to hers in a sweet kiss.

 

“I know it’s a good thing you’re not a salesman because that pitch you gave me needed some work,” she smiles.

 

“I’m terrible at acting too,” I admit.

 

“I saw.” She gently pulls off my left skate and checks my ankle, making me flinch. “That’s probably a sprain. Come on, let’s go home and get some ice on that. I’ll play nurse,” she winks.

 

“Is that going to be as good as the lonely housewife?” I ask. She came out in a barely there bikini the second time I mowed the lawn and I ended up fucking her against the new shed we got to house the lawn tools.

 

“Well I heard somewhere that blowjobs are good for speeding up healing.” Sookie pulls off my other skate and then starts to loosen her own laces.

 

“Mmhmm, so does wearing tiny skirts around the house so it’s easier to bend you over the closest available surface and fuck you.”

 

“That’s good to know,” she smiles and pulls her skates off.

 

I wait for her to get her street shoes on to stand up. “I’m going to need your support as I walk,” I tell her.

 

She picks up the bag with our skates and wraps her arm around my waist to lead us outside.

 

“Want me to drive?” Sookie offers when we reach the Escalade.

 

“Sure.” I hand her the keys after unlocking the SUV for her.

 

She puts the skates in the trunk and then comes to help me up into the passenger’s seat before she climbs behind the wheel.

 

“You know Noah and Allie are going to pout when you can’t go out to play with them,” she says.

 

“I know. I can already see my poor girl trying push you away so she can snuggle me,” I chuckle.

 

“Might as well just plop her on the couch with you. We all know you like her more anyway,” Sookie pouts and starts the car.

 

“She likes me more than Noah does,” I shrug.

 

“Pfffffffft.” She pulls out of her space and heads for the street. If we see more than three cars on the road at any given time that’s heavy traffic now.

 

“We each have our baby and that’s fine. Noah growls at me if I get too close to you when he’s cuddling with you,” I remind her.

 

“Of course he does. You distract his human from petting him or giving him belly rubs,” she chuckles. “I’m just glad they’re getting better at letting us know when they need to go out. Next spring we should put up a run so they can be outside when we’re not home.”

 

“Good idea,” I agree. “You know, when I made that bet with you it was just to get you to do more than bitch at me. I knew I’d lose.”

 

“I knew you would too,” she laughs.

 

“But I got the desired result,” I smile and lift her hand to kiss the back. “I got you smiling and laughing with me and excited to be on the ice again.”

 

“True.”

 

We go quiet for the rest of the ride home. It’s nice not to stop every two fucking seconds in traffic like L.A. When we get to the house Sookie helps me in. We’re immediately bombarded by two rambunctious little puppies, jumping all over us.

 

“Baby, can you take them out to potty?” I ask. They’re getting good at holding it while we’re gone.

 

“Yep. You get comfy on the couch. Put your foot up.”

 

“Yes, ma’am,” I agree and limp to the living room. I flop down on the couch and pull my shoes off. I lift my leg over the edge. I’m lying there a couple minutes before I hear the tip tap of little nails on the floor just before I feel the puppy breath on my foot, followed by a wet tongue on my ankle. It startles me and I yank my foot back, hitting it on my other foot. Fuck. I’m a hot fucking mess.

 

“Allie, come here,” I call her and she pads around the couch to look up at me with those adorable gray eyes. I lift her onto the couch with me and she snuggles into my chest.

 

A minute or two later Noah comes running in like a bulldozer and comes to a stop by my head. He puts his paws up on the couch and licks me in the face. Ugh. He knows better than to lick my face. I still pull him up so he can snuggle in with his sister.

 

Sookie comes out snickering a few seconds later with an ice pack.

 

“What? They know Daddy is hurting,” I chuckle.

 

“Ugh, do not call yourself Daddy. That’s just creepy.”

 

I laugh, startling Allie since her head is right on my chest. I know how she feels about it.

 

“Fine, do you like Pack Master better? Their pack master is hurting and they want to snuggle me.”

 

She rolls her eyes and puts the ice on my ankle.

 

“Thanks, baby. Do you want to come down here and cuddle with us?”

 

“I don’t think there’s room for me,” she snorts. “It’s fine. I’m gonna go shower.”

 

I pout a little. “I want to shower with you.”

 

“Too bad you fucked up your ankle,” she smirks.

 

“See, I fuck everything up,” I pout as I shift the dog off of my chest.

 

“Not everything. You got this ring on my finger in spite of yourself.”

 

“Barely,” I sigh.

 

“Seriously, what’s with this case of the Eeyores you have going right now?” Sookie asks. She looks agitated and concerned at the same time.

 

“I don’t know. I’ve been a fucking mess all day and the proposal didn’t go right. It hit me today that there’s no fucking way I deserve someone as good as you. I have you though and that’s… I guess I’m still a little surprised that you said yes and that you didn’t suddenly realize what a loser I am.”

 

Sookie takes a deep breath and leans against the island a few feet away. “Do you even want to marry me, Eric, or did you just ask because I’m a nice trophy?”

 

“I want to marry you, Sookie, more than anything. I’ve seen the bad, you’re way more than just a pretty trophy,” I say. It probably sounds bad but I hope she gets what I’m trying to say.

 

“Then will you please stop talking about me like I’m not smart enough to know for myself if I deserve you?” She plays with the ring on her finger and adds, “Maybe I should take this off until you’re sure I deserve you.”

 

“Don’t you dare,” I growl. “Come here, please.”

 

She comes closer to the couch and stops by my head.

 

I reach up to grab her hip. “Come down here,” I request.

 

She crouches down so her face is inches from mine.

 

“I love you,” I remind her. “You’re an amazing woman and I’ll never feel good enough, but for some silly reason you want me. I’m a lucky motherfucker and I know it. Keep the ring on, please. You’re going to make me the happiest man in the world.”

 

“I’ll keep it on as long as you remember two things. First, I have never pitied you. Second, that I have never taken more risks in my life than I have with you and I have never been happier or felt more loved. That right there means you deserve me,” Sookie says.

 

“Okay,” I smile and pull her head down for a kiss.

 

Sookie strokes my neck as she kisses me back. Her forehead presses to mine after the kiss breaks.

 

“I’m going to run upstairs and shower, and when I come back, Nurse Sookie will be ready to examine you.”

 

“Yes, ma’am,” I grin.

 

Sookie gives me a wink and then heads upstairs. I relax as much as I can with a throbbing ankle and two dogs on my chest. I can still hear the shower running when I drift off to sleep. It’s been an emotional fucking day.

 

SPOV

 

I didn’t expect Eric to propose to me so soon. I’m not at all disappointed by it, of course, but surprised all the same. I wish I knew what brought on that flood of insecurity but hopefully it’ll pass. It’s times like these when I wonder if Eric should still be in therapy. He’s had to deal with way more emotional trauma than I have.

 

The ring is beautiful, though. It was Gran’s engagement ring, a carat of emerald cut diamond sitting in a picture frame setting. It sparkles perfectly but it’s not too big or gaudy.

 

I pour myself a cup of coffee and go out to the porch to get the paper. Noah, our four-month-old puppy, follows me outside. His eyes are bright blue while his sister’s are gray. Both dogs are friendly as all get out and love to play and snuggle. Noah’s fur is a little darker than Allie’s, and thankfully Eric isn’t having any reactions to them being in the house. I’ll let them on the couch, reluctantly, but not in bed with us. I have to draw a line somewhere, plus they have their own puppy beds.

 

Noah picks up one of his toys and brings it to me to throw. I sit down on the front steps to play with him for a little while, while I drink my coffee. It’s almost October so the leaves have started to change and summer is definitely over. Dad always swears by the Farmer’s Almanac so I consulted it for winter forecasts and it looks like we’re in for a good amount of snow, so we’ll be needing a snow blower.

 

Allie whimpers at the door behind me so I get up to let her out too. The dogs are good about staying close to the house but we don’t let them go out unattended yet. While they play I drink my coffee and start looking over the paper. The sound of an approaching vehicle gets my attention and I look up to see a delivery truck turn into our driveway, followed by a black Hummer.

 

It takes a minute for me to realize it’s Eric’s parents. They didn’t tell us they were coming, but I’m happy to see them. We haven’t told anyone we’re engaged yet, but I’m happy they’ll be the first to know. They wanted to come for the move, but Kirsten started filming on Crime Files so they couldn’t.

 

“Noah, Allie!” I call to keep them from jumping on my future in-laws.

 

Kirsten and Jimmy get out of the Hummer and of course my dogs go running to inspect our visitors. I get up and walk across the lawn. At the same time, the delivery driver gets out of the truck. I have no idea what they’re dropping off.

 

“Sookie,” Kirsten grins and gives me a hug when I reach her.

 

“Hi,” I reply. “This is a nice surprise. Eric didn’t tell me you were coming.” I move over to hug Jimmy, which takes him by surprise. He has his faults and he’s made mistakes, but it’s obvious to me that he loves his son.

 

“We didn’t tell him,” Jimmy tells me as he let’s me go.

 

“Ah ha. Well unfortunately he sprained his left ankle yesterday after he lost our ice skating bet,” I tell them.

 

“I don’t know what he was thinking making that bet. He could barely stay upright the one time I took him,” Kirsten laughs. “It was like watching a baby deer stand up.”

 

“Where is he now?”

 

“Still sleeping. The dogs woke me up,” I say. “Gray eyes is Allie and blue eyes is Noah.”

 

“They’re adorable,” Kirsten says as she bends down to pet the dogs.

 

“We got you guys a piano,” Jimmy tells me as the delivery guys open the back of the truck.

 

My jaw drops.

 

“Seriously?” I’m stunned. My mind races as I try to figure out where we’re going to put it.

 

“Yeah. Do you have the space for it?” he asks me.

 

“We do, actually. What kind of piano is it?”

 

“Baby grand,” Jimmy says. “I only want the best for… What is that on your finger?”

 

Oh right.

 

“It’s my engagement ring,” I smile.

 

“You… you’re…” Kirsten sputters.

 

“Congratulations, kid,” Jimmy smiles.

 

“Thank you.” Kirsten almost knocks me over with a big bear hug.

 

“I’m so happy he proposed to you. I’ve never seen my baby so happy,” she whispers.

 

Sadly, that’s not hard to believe but it makes me happy anyway.

 

“Go get the boy up and we’ll have breakfast,” Jimmy says before going to talk to the delivery guy.

 

“Come on in with me and have a look around,” I tell Kirsten.

 

We head for the house and the puppies follow us inside.

 

“There’s coffee in the kitchen if you want some,” I offer.

 

“Sookie, this is lovely,” she says as she looks around. “You have fantastic taste.”

 

“Thank you,” I smile.

 

“Of course she does, she picked me,” Eric says with a sleepy smile as he hobbles down the stairs.

 

“Good morning, sleepyhead,” Kirsten grins and goes to help Eric down the stairs.

 

“Morning, Mom. What are you doing here?”

 

“Your father has a housewarming gift for you,” she answers.

 

I go to the kitchen to get down mugs for everyone, and grab the cream from the fridge.

 

“What did he… Did he get us a piano?” Eric asks as he looks out the front window.

 

“He did,” Kirsten confirms. “A beautiful baby grand.”

 

He looks stunned. They still weren’t talking when we left California.

 

“Babe, you should put your foot up. I’ll get breakfast started,” I tell him as I fix his coffee.

 

“Yes, Dear,” he chuckles. “Not even engaged twenty-four hours and she’s telling me what to do,” he tells his mom.

 

“Thanks for the phone call, by the way.” Kirsten has the same pout as her son, only hers is convincing.

 

“I didn’t know I was going to ask until right before we left the house and by then I was so nervous I almost ended up breaking up with her instead of proposing,” he admits.

 

Kirsten smacks him upside his head.

 

“What’s the matter with you?” she asks.

 

“High stress. What if she said no? Fuck, I was freaking out. It happens.”

 

His mom shakes her head as the movers start to bring the piano into the house. I bring Eric his coffee and then go to show the movers where to set up the piano in the front room. I have them put it near the windows so whoever is playing can look outside. Jimmy comes in and looks around with a blank expression on his face. He’s a tough one to read.

 

“Would you like some coffee, Jimmy?” I ask.

 

“No thanks. I’m not a coffee drinker.”

 

“Dad is the only weirdo in the family,” Eric chuckles from his spot on the couch.

 

I snort and go back to the kitchen to start on breakfast. Kirsten goes out the French doors and gasps. The view really is stunning. I can’t wait until it snows. It’s going to be so gorgeous back there.

 

“How long are you guys staying?” Eric asks.

 

“Until you guys get sick of us,” Jimmy answers. “The reunion is off and your mother is free for a couple months before her next project.”

 

“Why is the reunion off?” Eric asks him and takes a sip of his coffee.

 

“The argument with Pete brought out a few more problems we never discussed,” Jimmy says, leaving it at that.

 

“Oh… Why don’t you guys go check out the property? Sookie did an amazing job picking this place.”

 

“We own the dock down by the water and the little beach,” I tell Jimmy. “We have almost seven acres of land.”

 

Property like this is California would cost millions. I feel like I got this place for a freaking steal.

 

“It’s nice,” Jimmy replies. “Room for expansions when you guys start on baby number five.”

 

I laugh and say, “I don’t think we’ll have that many.”

 

“The way you two go at it, I’m surprised you’re not pregnant now,” he snorts.

 

I arch an eyebrow at that. What does he know about our sex life?

 

Jimmy notices the look on my face and adds, “You’re loud, Sookie. I could hear you two from the studio when I took breaks.”

 

 

“Jimmy, stop embarrassing our future daughter-in-law and walk down to the lake with me,” Kirsten says.

 

“Yes, Dear,” he says, sounding just like Eric.

 

“Wait! Do you guys like breakfast burritos?” I ask.

 

“Dad will put anything in his mouth,” Eric chuckles.

 

“So did you before rehab,” Kristen teases.

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Eric says innocently.

 

Yeah right.

 

Regardless of his terrible acting, his parents start walking toward the lake while I get the oven started for bacon. I put the tortillas in my warmer and get parchment paper out to line the cookie sheets. I’m going to have to run to the grocery store if Jimmy and Kirsten will be staying with us.

 

“Baby, do you need help?” Eric asks as he starts to get up.

 

“No, I’m okay.” I pull the bacon from the fridge to put it on the cookie sheets. “Do your parents like chorizo?”

 

“Mom doesn’t, neither do I. Dad likes it, though.”

 

I nod and get that out, along with the eggs and cheese. I set everything on the counter while I get down bowls and get out skillets for the sausage and eggs.

 

“Should I make guacamole?” I have the ingredients but if no one really wants it I won’t bother.

 

“Yeah, I’ll eat it with those multigrain chips for a snack later.”

 

“Okay,” I nod and put the bacon in the oven.

 

“Are you sure you don’t want help?”

 

“I’m sure. Once I get the chorizo going I just have to make the eggs. How many should I make?” I’d make four for the two of us so I’m thinking eight but I want to be sure.

 

“Eight should be enough.” Eric gets up and goes to the back door to let Allie out when she whines at it.

 

I get the chorizo in a pan and start cracking eggs into one of the bowls. While I’m whisking them, Eric hugs me from behind.

 

“Thank you for making breakfast,” he whispers, dipping his head to kiss my neck.

 

“You’re welcome. How’s your ankle feeling?” I doubt the blowjob that went on for forty-five minutes yesterday actually healed him, but it definitely distracted him for a while.

 

“Hurts like a bitch, but I’ll live.” He starts to nibble on my earlobe and adds, “Thanks for making my parents feel welcome.”

 

“Of course. They’re going to be my family too. I think your dad almost had a heart attack when I hugged him,” I tell him.

 

“Not a lot of people touch him these days,” Eric chuckles. “Especially not people that associate with me.”

 

“He’ll get over it,” I shrug.

 

“He will. Plus, he likes you. He doesn’t like a lot of people, so that’s a pretty good start.”

 

“I suppose it helps that I’m talking to my fiancée’s dad and not a rockstar, huh?”

 

“Mmm, that helps immensely,” Eric smiles against my neck.

 

I get a spatula from one of the drawers and reach over to stir the sausage around.

 

“You should go sit,” I say.

 

“Yeah, yeah,” he sighs and turns to hobble back to the living room.

 

***

 

“So this is the guest room,” I tell Kirsten and Jimmy after we’re done with breakfast. “The bed might be a little short for Jimmy, but a king is too big for this room.”

 

“I’ll manage,” he says as he steps in and sets his bag on the end of the bed.

 

“There’s a bathroom just down the hall and extra towels under the sink,” I say. “And if you’re inclined, the sunrise down on the dock is gorgeous. There are blankets in the ottomans downstairs you can take. It’s pretty cold and damp in the morning.”

 

“Thank you, Sookie,” Jimmy says as he flops down on the bed.

 

“You’re very welcome. I’ll let you guys get situated and rest if–” I stop mid-sentence when I hear Eric playing the piano downstairs.

 

Kirsten smiles and I see her eyes well up a little.

 

“I guess he likes it,” Jimmy smiles.

 

“He’s good,” I say. I’m not sure what he’s playing, but it sounds pretty.

 

“He’s always been a fan of Chopin,” Kirsten tells me.

 

“Well, I’ll leave you guys alone. I might run out for a bit, but Eric will be here if you need anything. Do you want anything special from the grocery store?”

 

Jimmy shakes his head no.

 

“I think we’ll be fine,” Kirsten says.

 

“Okay. Then enjoy your rest,” I smile and close the door behind me when I walk out.

 

I stay on the stairs so I don’t disrupt Eric and just watch him play. He’s really good, from what I can tell. The melody transitions to one I immediately recognize and it propels me down the stairs. It’s Joni Mitchell he’s playing and when I reach him, I rub his shoulders.

 

He looks back at me with a small smile before he focuses on the piano again. Eric looks like he’s perfectly at home on the piano bench and it’s good to see him doing something that he’s obviously comfortable with. I sing quietly because I don’t have the best singing voice. It’s not the worst, but still…

 

By the time the song ends I have a tear sliding down my cheek. I lean down and kiss his neck.

 

“You’re a great piano player, babe,” I whisper. “Thank you for playing that song.”

 

“You’re welcome,” he whispers back.

 

“You should play more often.” I sit down next to him on the bench.

 

“I didn’t have anywhere to play before,” he shrugs. He takes my hands and places them on the keys. “Can you play anything at all?”

 

“Sadly, the only thing I was ever any good at was Happy Birthday, but I haven’t played since I was seven,” I reply.

 

“So you’re like me on the ice, huh?”

 

“Pretty much,” I chuckle. “I know my strengths and piano isn’t it. My fingers don’t cooperate.”

 

Eric moves my fingers and makes me play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

 

“I don’t know, you seem like you’re a pro,” he smiles and leans over to kiss me.

 

“That’s because the puppet master is doing all the work,” I chuckle.

 

“Right now,” he shrugs. “I’m sure you’ll get better.”

 

“Nope, this is your toy. I know my place.”

 

“We’ll see.”

 

He says that now, but I have no interest in learning to play piano. It’s just not for me. If I want to get lost in something the way he was while he was playing I’ll go to the ice rink for a long skate. We both have our strengths and I’m okay with us having different interests. I’ll be his biggest fan and he can be mine, that’s all I need.

 

I rest my head on his shoulder and take my hands off the keys so he can go back to playing. The puppies come over and curl up together on the floor in a patch of sunlight. My eyes close as an old Billy Joel song starts. I feel blessed that this is the way I get to spend the rest of my life. I think this is really only the beginning of our story.
Chapter 19

8 thoughts on “Chapter 20

  1. OMG, why does that sound suspiciously like the end of the story?! I’m not ready to let go of these two! I love that Eric’s dad is finally starting to come around, and what a great peace offering he brought them!

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  2. Sweet chapter. Laughed at Eric’s proposal. He nearly talked himself out of the whole relationship. Maybe he does need more therapy with his insecurities. Glad to read that his parents came for a visit. Though I’m in two minds with such an expensive house warming present. Is it for real or is his father trying to buy his love by throwing money at him? Something to ponder. Looking forward to the next chapter.

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  3. This is a gem of a story, I really don’t want it to end. I’ve enjoyed their journey; they’ve both come so far. It would be nice to see what Eric and Sookie did eventually do with their lives. I’ve heard many times that recovering addicts shouldn’t start new relationships but how could they be wrong for each other? This would make a wonderful film script – I could even see Alex Skarsgard playing Eric! On a more serious note, wonderful writing and I think you did an excellent job of showing what can happen to famous kids/children of famous couples. You made an excellent point showing that sometimes stars travelling with their kids isn’t necessarily better for them. Although raising kids when you are famous must be incredibly hard and has the potential to damage the children whether they travel without you or are stuck with nannies. What Maisie Knew was a brilliant (not to mention heartbreaking) portrayal of that fact- even my hubby had tears watching that.

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  4. Great story! Poor Eric was so down on himself, esp with that messed up proposal. Glad he eventually asked her. And I’d be pissed if my parents showed up uninvited but I’m glad they are more gracious than me, lol. I thought it was so lovely that Eric plays the piano so well. That house and the property sound amazing.

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  5. Awww great proposal! I loved that it went off plan and, as sorry as I was for Eric, his wobble felt natural as he is still a bit insecure… Good thing Sookie’s solid there for him to work through things… And like she said he is also there for her.
    Nice piano gift… Things are slowly getting better between Eric and his dad but it needs time which makes sense esp. considering they are both stubborn…

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