When I leave Eric at Trey’s I start to think about my actions. I refuse to apologize to Amelia for my comments, because they were the absolute truth, but I could’ve saved us a lot of awkwardness if I kept quiet. Oh well, it’s not really a big loss to me. I don’t think Eric is really that bothered either.
I’ve always been an advocate of spending time with your friends when you get into a relationship. I’ve never wanted to be that girl so telling Eric to stay wasn’t a big deal. I pull up to the stop sign right before my house and do my due diligence. I look both ways and head through the stop sign.
The next thing I know I wake up in an uncomfortable bed. I hear a loud beeping that sounds like a… heart monitor? The last time I heard a heart monitor I was giving birth, and I am certainly not pregnant.
My eyes pop open and I scan the faces around me. It takes a moment to recognize the people around me. My mom, Dad, and Eric on the other side in an uncomfortable looking chair. He has my daughter asleep on his lap. Well I guess Mom and Dad met the new boyfriend.
“Hi,” I say in a hoarse, creaky voice.
Eric looks at me and he exhales with relief. “Thank God,” he whispers.
Mom is immediately hovering over me, kissing my forehead.
“What’s going on?” I have no idea what I’m doing here.
“You had an accident,” Mom says. “A witness said someone blew through the stop sign by the house and t-boned you.”
“Is that all?” I joke… too soon. The looks I get from everyone shut me up. “How long have I been here?”
“Since last night,” Mom says as tears fill her eyes. “The Jeep rolled, Sookie. You could have died.”
I gasp and then cough. It hurts. I probably totaled Eric’s Jeep.
“Eric, I’m sorry about your car,” I say.
“Insurance will cover it. I’m more worried about you,” he says sincerely.
“Mmm, okay,” I say and close my eyes to blink. A few minutes later I open them again and say, “Mom, Dad, meet Eric.”
“We’ve met,” Mom says. “He’s been here longer than we have.”
“That’s really nice,” I smile. I feel way too good for having been in an accident. “Eric is a nice guy, you should like him.”
“Jo went straight to him when she saw him,” Mom says as she wipes her tears off her cheeks. “Didn’t even want bear hugs from Pop Pop.”
“I think she plans on marrying Eric,” I laugh a little, which hurts. “I don’t know how to break it to her he’s spoken for.”
“I’ll let her down easy,” Eric says from his seat.
“Thanks, babe. Daddy, Eric likes cars too,” I tell my dad. I feel like I need to break up the tension in the room.
A doctor comes in the room. Doctor Brigant. He looks like he’s been doing this about a hundred years, so I feel safe with him. He’s probably very knowledgeable. He starts talking to me, but I can’t comprehend anything he’s saying. I just hope my parents are getting all this. He runs a few tests and I figure I’m probably not so sore because I’m doped up on something I can’t pronounce.
I learn I have a broken rib, a concussion, and a lot of bumps and bruises. All in all, I’m doing good for someone that rolled over in a Jeep.
By the time he leaves I’m a little more awake.
“I’m really sorry for scaring everyone,” I tell them.
My dad, the toughest person I know, comes to sit next to me and I see his eyes a little teary. I’ve never seen my dad cry.
“You’re here, baby, that’s all we care about,” he says quietly and leans over to kiss the tip of my nose.
“You just focus on getting better,” Mom says, rubbing my arm gently. “You can come and stay with Daddy and me until you’re up to taking care of Jo on your own again.”
“I can do it,” I argue. I probably can’t, but I’ve never needed help before.
“Baby, you need someone to look out for you with that head injury and you’re not going to have an easy time picking her up with the broken rib,” Mom reasons.
“I can help,” Eric offers.
My head snaps over and I have to close my eyes a moment before I can focus on him.
“I can do it,” I tell him a little more sternly. I know I won’t win this, but my brain keeps telling me I need to fight.
“Then I guess you’ll just have to throw me out of your house,” he says, matching my sternness.
“I like this one,” Dad says. I’m not looking at him, but I can hear his smile.
“Fine.” I give way too soon, but it’s pointless and I’m getting a headache.
“I already called your boss at the shop to let her know that you’re not going to be able to come in for at least a week. The doctor wants you to get good rest. It’s really no trouble for us to take Jo for a few days,” Mom tells me.
I look over at Eric since he’s my new helper to get his opinion on this.
“Maybe for just the first day or two that you’re home so you can get some uninterrupted rest. She can always come by to visit for a while,” he suggests.
I look back at my mom and say, “The keeper has spoken.”
Mom looks at Dad and says, “Hallelujah, someone who can make her see reason.”
“I’ll say it again, I like this one,” Dad chuckles and gives me a little wink.
Eric stands up with Joey in his arms and hands her over to my Mom.
“I hate to leave you but I promised I’d pick up Jake,” he reminds me. “I’m going to take him over to my parents’ house since they won’t let him up here, but I’ll come back. Do you want me to swing by your house and get anything for you?”
“Some sweats and big t-shirt, please. Oh and a fresh pair of undies,” I say and pucker my lips for a kiss.
Eric presses his lips to mine and lingers for a moment before he moves to my ear and whispers, “I’m glad you came back to me, Toots.”
“You’re not getting rid of me that easy,” I whisper back. “Thank you for helping me.”
“What else would I do?” His fingers graze my jaw gently. He gives me one more kiss and then stands up straight. “I’ll be back as quick as I can.”
“I’ll walk you out,” Dad offers. I can only imagine what he’s going to say to Eric.
“Do you think he’s going to give Eric ‘the talk’?” I ask my mom when they walk out. Joey is still asleep in her arms and I really can’t wait for her to wake up.
“I think your father might leave me for him,” Mom snickers.
“Uh oh, that bad, huh?” I smile and close my eyes. “I’m still awake,” I tell her after a few seconds. “How long has Joey been here?”
“Eric told me that Papa Sam had her so I gave him a call to let him know you’d been in an accident and he brought her over after breakfast this morning,” Mom says. She looks exhausted.
“Thank you,” I say. “If you want you can lay her here with me,” I offer and raise my arm on my non-broken side.
“If it hurts, let me know.” Mom carefully lays Joey down beside me and smooths back her hair from her flushed little face.
“I don’t feel much right now,” I admit.
Joey snuggles into my side when she senses me and I look down at her for a few minutes. I burst out in tears when I realize if I would’ve been killed I would’ve left her without a mother and who knows what kind of father Sam would be. I would’ve left more than just Jo here, but she’s the one I care most about. This little girl is my life.
I look up at my mom and she’s crying too.
“Mommy, I could’ve died,” I cry when it really, really hits home.
“I know, baby, but you’re here and you’re going to be fine,” Mom insists. She dabs at my cheeks with a tissue.
I cry a few minutes longer until I finally cry myself to sleep. When I wake up a little while later Joey is awake, sitting up next to me and both of my parents are sitting in the two chairs by my bed. Eric isn’t back yet, but that’s fine.
“Hey,” I whisper to get Joey’s attention.
Her head whips over and she gives me my favorite smile.
“Mommy!” she squeals and drops down to hug me. When I make an oomf and a wince my mom pulls her away.
“Baby, I’m not feeling too well,” I tell her.
“Sorry. Gramma said I’m going to her house.”
“Just for a couple days,” I tell her, but she looks a little sad.
“I’ll bring you by Mommy’s to visit,” Mom promises her. “And Eric is going to take good care of Mommy.”
“But I want to go home,” she whines.
“I know, honey, but I can’t take care of you right now.”
“Eric can,” she says optimistically.
“No, baby, Eric has work and school and he’s going to be taking care of me so I can get better for you,” I explain.
She pouts, but doesn’t argue anymore. I missed her face when she was sleeping. I’m really going to miss her over the next couple days.
“How long was I out?” I ask.
“Only an hour,” Mom answers.
“Okay. Have they told you when they’re letting me out of here?”
“Dr. Brigant wants to keep you one more night so they can monitor your head, but you should be going home tomorrow.”
“Good,” I sigh. I hate being in the hospital. “Has Eric called?” I also want my clothes.
“Okay.” I pull Joey close again and she rests her head on my arm. “Do you guys have anything exciting to talk about or are you just going to stare at me all night?” I ask after a few minutes.
“I’m too tired to think,” Mom says.
“I want to shower.” I feel disgusting. “Daddy, can you hand me my phone?”
When my dad hands me the phone I search through my contacts and call Eric.
“I just got to your house,” Eric says.
“Perfect. I wanted to see if you can grab my toothbrush,” I tell him.
“You got it. Do you want your phone charger too?”
“Yeah, it’s almost dead. Can you bring me a sports bra instead of a real bra? I don’t think I’m going to be able to wear it while I’m here, but I want it just in case.” My boobs are way too big to let flop around braless in public.
“Yep, got it.”
“Okay, and anything else you can think of.”
“Alright. I’ll see you soon,” he says.
“Thank you, you spoil me,” I say with a smile.
We hang up and I hand my phone to Joey to set on the rolling tray. It goes silent again and I end up falling asleep. I think it’s a combination of the drugs and the concussion. When I wake up again it’s dark outside and my parents are getting ready to leave.
“Sorry I’ve been bad company,” I mumble without opening my eyes.
“It’s okay, baby. Get some sleep. We’ll see you tomorrow,” Mom says. “Eric brought us some clothes for Joey too.”
My eyes flutter open and I look over at Eric. “Thanks for that,” I tell him.
“You’re welcome,” he smiles. He looks exhausted too.
My dad holds Joey over me to give me a kiss before he leans down to kiss my head.
“I love you, Sookie.”
“Love you too, Daddy,” I say and then tell Jo and my mom I love them too before they leave me alone with Eric.
“You look tired,” I observe, reaching out my hand to him.
“I am. I think I slept for twenty minutes,” he says.
“I’m sorry. Go home, get some rest. I’m not going anywhere.”
“Nope, I’m staying,” he tells me and kisses my hand.
“You’re way too good to me,” I say and I can feel my eyes welling up.
“You would do the same for me,” he says with conviction.
“I would,” I agree. “You know, I looked both ways before I drove through the intersection and I didn’t see anybody coming.”
“The witness said the other car was speeding and he didn’t have his headlights on,” he tells me. “And the truck was black.”
“Is the other driver okay?” I ask. I know it wasn’t my fault, but I would feel guilty if the other driver was hurt too badly.
“I don’t know,” he admits. “Last I heard he dislocated his shoulder and broke his nose.”
“That’s better than dead, I guess.”
“That’s up for debate,” Eric growls. “He had his kid in the truck with him.”
I gasp and cover my mouth.
“Is the kid okay?” I ask.
“Yeah, he’s fine, as far as I know. He was strapped into his car seat, so he was just shaken up.”
“Still, that poor baby. I don’t know what I would do if Joey was with me last night. I know it wasn’t my fault, but I would still feel guilty.”
“I’m glad she wasn’t with you too.”
“How did you find out? Who called my parents?” I never know how everyone finds out when someone is unconscious.
“The police called me because it was my car. Your medical records had your parents’ number in them so the hospital called them,” he explains. “I came straight here and your parents got here an hour later.”
“I’m still so sorry for the scare.” I don’t know what else to say that’ll stop me from crying again.
“It’s not your fault. After seeing pictures from the scene, I’m amazed you look as good as you do,” he says.
“Oh, God, I haven’t even seen myself. I probably look a mess,” I sigh and try to run my hands through my hair. It feels like matted dog hair.
“You’re a little banged up, but you’re not disfigured,” he smiles.
“Which is nice for I look like I just walked through a tornado. Can I get up? Are they allowing me out of bed? I haven’t asked.”
“You can get up, I think. Need some help?” Eric stands up to help me. “That rib is gonna be tender.”
“Thanks.” I try to get up and wince when my ribs feel like they’re going to burst through my skin. “I might need more help than I thought,” I admit.
Eric leans down to help me up and he does most of the heavy lifting to get me on my feet. I feel dizzy once I’m vertical, but Eric lets me lean on him.
“Awkward moment when your boyfriend has to help you pee,” I murmur.
“Awkward would be if I had to change your diaper,” he jokes.
“Don’t make me laugh,” I chuckle, “It hurts.”
“It’s better than crying. My mom got the crying.”
“Do you need more pain medicine?” he asks as we shuffle into the bathroom.
“Yeah, it’s been a few hours and I have a feeling after this it’s going to start hurting again. Can you help me down and then grab my toothbrush while I pee?”
“Just remember I would do it for you,” I smile at him.
Eric helps me lift my gown and I hold it while he helps pull my panties down. Once I’m sitting he lets me have some privacy while he goes to get my toothbrush. He knocks before coming back in. I’m done and he helps me up so I can wash my hands and brush my teeth.
When we get back to the room the nurse comes in to give me my meds. Once I’m settled I pat the side of my bed, offering Eric a seat.
“I don’t know how much longer I can stay awake,” I tell him.
“Then we’re in the same boat,” he says as he sits.
“Do you think I’ll get in trouble if I let you lay down with me?”
“As long as you don’t try to get frisky with me,” he smirks.
“I’m feeling about as far from frisky as I can get,” I tell him and thread my fingers through his.
“Oh I’m sure it was worse after Jo was born,” he smiles.
“Mmhmm, I never wanted to be touched by a man again. I had her natural, and let me tell you, I will never do that again,” I giggle and tug his hand to get him closer.
Eric carefully stretches out next to me and I shift a little to rest my head on his chest.
“Well now you know better,” he says and kisses my head.
“Mmhmm,” I hum. “Go to sleep, baby.”
“I will.” His fingers graze up and down my arm.
That’s the last thing I remember before I pass out.
Eric drove more careful than I’ve ever seen anyone drive on the way home. He offered to carry me in the house when we got here, and he’s been checking on me every few minutes. I feel terrible. I know he has classes and work, amongst a million other things, including being a father and this is his time with Jake.
“You can go get things done if you need to,” I offer once I’m showered and settled into bed.
“Nope, I’m all yours. My mom is going to keep Jake for tonight again and I’ll switch days with Aude if I need to,” he says.
“What would I do without you?” I ask.
“Go back to your parents’ house, probably.”
“My mom would baby me and I’d be ready to kill her within the first hour,” I laugh and hold my ribs when it hurts. “God, I’ve never broken anything. This sucks.”
Eric gives me a sympathetic look and asks, “Are you hungry? You didn’t eat much for breakfast.”
“I was too anxious to get home. Yeah, I could eat. Nothing too heavy though, the pain pills make me nauseous.”
“Okay. How about some fruit and toast?”
“Perfect,” I smile.
“Apple juice or chocolate milk?”
“Do you want jelly on your toast, or just butter?”
“I’ll take it dry right now. I think the fat in the butter won’t sit well,” I tell him and stretch out.
“Okay. I’ll be back in a few,” he says.
“You know where I’ll be,” I smile.
When he walks away all I can think about is how awesome he is. I really don’t know where I would be without Eric. He’s pretty much the sweetest man I’ve ever met, and I just want to cry because he’s just… he’s perfect.
When he walks back into the room a few minutes later I’m crying like a baby.
“Shit, what’s wrong?” Eric drops my lunch on the dresser and rushes over to me.
“You… and… this,” I cry, motioning to the food. “Perfect. I can’t…” I gasp, trying to breathe, but I can’t get out what I’m feeling or thinking.
“Sook, calm down,” he says soothingly and rubs my back.
I only cry harder, which sucks. It hurts everywhere and I want to be held, but even that hurts. Eric keeps rubbing my back but he just lets me cry it out.
“I…” I sniffle, still trying to get out what I’m feeling. “I… I love you,” I blurt. It hit me like a ton of bricks when he walked away to get my food. I haven’t been in love since Sam, and truthfully it scares me.
“What? I think you’re high on pain meds,” he smiles at me.
I shake my head and say, “No, Eric, I’m not high. I know what I feel, and I know you are the most amazing man I’ve ever met.”
He sits on the edge of the bed and helps me to sit up. He’s gentle and patient with me, and he gives me the sweetest kiss before he says, “I love you too, Toots.”
“You don’t have to–”
“I’m saying it because I mean it. That phone call was the scariest thing that’s ever happened and my college fling got knocked up,” he smiles and tucks my hair back. “I was afraid I would never see these pretty eyes again, or that perfect Christmas morning smile of yours. I love you, Sookie.”
I tilt my head to kiss him. My hands find his face and I hold his head to mine.
“I guess one good thing came out of the accident,” I says softly and kiss his lips lightly again.
“Lots of kisses?” he smiles against my lips. “I would have fallen in love with you even without the accident.”
“Me too, but it made me see what was already there.” I kiss him again. If I was feeling better this would be the perfect time for sex.
“You would have figured it out. I’d rather you not be in pain,” he says and then kisses lightly along my jaw.
“If you keep doing that I forget about the pain,” I whisper.
“Do you want me to stop?” he whispers between kisses.
“No,” I breathe. I don’t know how far I can go, but this feels good.
Eric kisses his way back to my mouth and his hand cradles the back of my neck as he kisses me. I start to pull back, taking him with me. He stops long enough to help me lie down. He joins me and I turn onto my good side. His lips are back on mine and my hand is caressing his hip.
“I’m enjoying all the kissing, but do you want to eat?” he asks after a good ten minutes pass.
“Yes,” I giggle. “I feel like I haven’t eaten in a week.”
Eric smiles and says, “Then I’m glad I cut up a lot of fruit for you. Bananas, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and I even found a can of mandarin oranges in the cupboard.”
“You spoil me,” I say and watch as he grabs the tray. I pat the bed next to me and ask him to eat with me.
Eric sits beside me and plucks a blueberry from the bowl. I tell him to eat it and I tackle the dry toast. I need to start with something mild and easy to keep down.
We finish eating and I take more meds. The last thing I remember is Eric rubbing my back and his sparkling blue eyes.