Sookie’s daughter is a handful, but she’s also every bit the flirt her mother said she is. By the time we’re ready to go it’s obvious that Joey doesn’t want to go, but also that she’s tired. So it’s not at all surprising when she starts to throw a little fit on our way out.
“Jo, we can come back another time,” Sookie promises her. “Wouldn’t you rather come back after you get a good night’s sleep?”
“I want to play now! Now!” Joey screeches.
Holy shit, that’s a decibel I’m not used to.
“Josephine Adele,” Sookie scolds.
Joey bursts into tears and tries to squirm away from Sookie. I don’t envy her at all right now.
“Excuse us,” Sookie says and walks away with her screeching child. I can hear her talking to Joey in her mom voice as she walks toward her car.
I move over to the Jeep a few cars over to give her some privacy. Was this the best first date ever? No. It was difficult to have a conversation with Jo here but it wasn’t so awful that I don’t want to see her again. Hopefully next time without her daughter. I get her dilemma, though. I can’t hold it against her.
It takes a few minutes for her to get Joey settled in the backseat before Sookie reappears, and I can still hear Joey crying. I meet her halfway when she starts walking toward me.
“Bedtime?” I ask. I’ve seen Jake have similar fits.
“Yeah, she’ll fall asleep on the way home.”
“She won’t wake up when you take her out of the car, will she? I used to let Jake sleep in the car because of that.”
“No, when she sleeps, she sleeps hard. I’ve never had a problem with that,” she tells me.
“You’re lucky,” I smile at her.
“Right, you see what I have to deal with when she doesn’t want to do something,” she giggles.
“A strong will is a blessing and a curse,” I agree. “I won’t keep you, but I had fun tonight.”
“I had fun too,” she smiles. “I hope it’s not too forward, but would you be interested in going out again… without as screaming child?”
“What would we talk about without a screaming child in tow?” I smirk.
“Oh, you know… I have no idea,” she laughs.
“I’m fluent in cartoons and Disney films… that’s about it these days,” I laugh with her. “But maybe we can figure something out. I’m willing to take a chance.”
“Well okay,” she smiles, “Give me a call and we can figure it out?”
Our eyes lock and I lean down to kiss her cheek, only because I’m worried that if I kiss her I won’t want to let her go. I linger for a moment and whisper, “Goodnight, Sookie.”
“Goodnight,” she whispers back.
I take a step back so I don’t kiss her anyway.
“Drive safe,” I say.
“You too, Eric.” She has a shy smile on her face the whole time as she gives me a little wave and walks away.
I watch her get in her car and wait to get in mine until Sookie’s driven away.
The next morning I actually get to sleep in for the first time in I don’t know how long, and I’m woken up by my doorbell ringing every few seconds. It’s either my son or my sister. I love Pam, but she’s not the most patient person I know and she hates living at home with our parents. She’s tried to talk me into letting her move in here but I know that’s a bad idea.
I roll out of bed and when I see my sister at the door, I growl.
“The fuck, Pam?” I grumble when I open the door. This is why she doesn’t have a key.
“Morning, brother mine,” she says as she pushes her way past me.
“Did I invite you in?” Like it matters, obviously. “Why are you here and why don’t you have coffee?”
“I can’t just come over to visit my loving brother?” she asks, and then adds, “And I figured you’d take me for coffee.”
“I have a mortgage, a car payment and child support. Get your own coffee.” I close the door and follow Pam to the living room.
“I tried,” she says and sits on the couch.
“So why are you really here? You passed five Starbucks on the way here.” I plop down on the couch and stretch out.
“IthinkImightbepregnant,” she blurts out.
I lift my head and stare at my sister. She’s two years younger than me and she was the first person to call me a fucktard when Aude got pregnant.
“Well, well, well,” I smirk. “Looks like I’m not the only fucktard around here.”
“Eric, I don’t need you to scold me. I need to know what to do here,” she whines.
“Did you get a test? Why are you talking to me about this instead of Stan?”
While he still has a normal, male voice.
While he still has parts that make him male.
“He’s not ready for kids. He’s a moron; he wouldn’t give me any useful advice.”
“You might want to stop banging him then,” I suggest.
“We’ve been using protection,” she tells me.
“So then take a test and then we’ll talk.” I pull a pillow over my face.
“Can you go with me to get one?”
“Pam…” I growl. It’s not that I don’t care as much as this is the kind of shit she should be doing with her dickhead boyfriend or one of her bitchy girlfriends.
“Eric, you’re the only person I trust to take with me. Please, please come with me,” she begs.
I really hate being a big brother sometimes.
“Fine, but you’re buying me coffee and you’re not allowed to comment on my clothes for a month.” I know to make demands with her.
“Fine,” she agrees without hesitation.
“Give me five minutes. I gotta piss and get dressed,” I say as I sit up.
“I’ll be here.”
I get up and go to my room to grab a T-shirt to go with my basketball shorts, and then I go into my bathroom to pee and brush my teeth. I slip on a pair of flip flops and grab my cell phone off the nightstand. I have a missed call from Sookie. That’s when I realize it’s almost noon. Damn.
“Okay, let’s go!” I call out to Pam.
I open the garage door and get behind the wheel of the Jeep. I’m not letting Pam drive. She listens to shitty music and she texts while she steers with her knees.
“You’re lucky I’m in no mood to argue about your hideous driving,” she grumbles when she meets me at the Jeep.
“You’re lucky I didn’t have the police escort you from my property, so we’re even.” I start the Jeep and open the garage door.
I don’t notice Pam has my phone until she asks, “Who’s Sookie?”
“You did not just go through my phone,” I glare at her.
“Have you met me?” Is her only excuse.
“It’s none of your business.” I yank my phone out of her hands. “Why didn’t you go to Mom with this? Why me?”
Pam never listens to anyone, including me. She’s always been very independent and a huge pain in the ass.
“I don’t want mom to know unless I am pregnant.”
“I already broke her in on the grandma front. What are you worried about? Hell, you should have been more worried before you boned that hipster asshole,” I tell her. I swear he wears Pam’s jeans.
“Eric, I don’t need your shit right now. I need you to be an understanding brother, fucktard,” she grumbles.
I pull into a Starbucks lot and go through the drive thru. Venti cinnamon dolce… it makes life worth living and I don’t get it often.
“You know, I’d be more understanding if it wasn’t for the fact that you’ve spent the last two years avoiding babysitting your nephew,” I say once we’re back on the road.
“Well I can’t start now. If I’m pregnant I’m damn near disabled,” she tells me.
I roll my eyes.
“Yeah, and all the stretch marks you’ll have…” I say dryly.
She gasps and covers her face before I hear a muffled, “Noooo.”
“Plus your boobs will sag and Aude said she still has bladder problems–”
“Eric, no, I will not have body issues because of this little shit. If there is a little shit.” She’s not happy.
“So are you keeping it if you’re knocked up?” I turn into the Target parking lot.
“I don’t know,” she sighs. “I don’t want kids, Eric, but I… I just don’t know. I don’t want to worry about keeping anything until I know for sure.”
“You think Stan will jump ship?” I park the Jeep and take my coffee in with me.
“Most likely. We can barely get along outside of the bedroom as it is.”
“So dump him. He can’t be that good in bed.”
We walk into the store and Pam heads for the health and beauty stuff.
“I probably will after this,” she admits.
“Just don’t make all the same mistakes I did.”
She looks at me like I’m an idiot and says dryly, “I could’ve used that advice five weeks ago.”
“If your head wasn’t always in your ass you would have gotten the memo three years ago,” I glare at her.
She just rolls her eyes and we stop in front of the pregnancy tests.
“You have experience, which one do I get?”
“I don’t know. I wasn’t there for this part. Get the pink, sparkly one,” I shrug.
“Useless,” she mumbles under her breath and grabs three different brands.
“Until you need an oil change or a tune-up,” I smirk.
She just glares at me.
“Is that all you need?” Did I really have to be here for this?
“Yes. Now is no time for shopping,” she says like I should know better.
I start walking away from Pam and head for the registers. I really wish she would have gone to someone else because I don’t feel like dealing with her while she’s in full drama queen mode.
All three of the tests Pam bought came out negative and when she finally left ten minutes ago it was to go dump Stan. I don’t know if Sookie’s at work, but I call her back so she doesn’t think I was just being nice to her last night.
“Hello?” she answers about halfway through her ringback tone.
“Hey, it’s Eric. Sorry I couldn’t call back until now. How are you?”
“Good, good, I’m finally getting a break. Jo’s dad picked her up this morning,” she tells me.
“That’s good. I’m happy to hear it.”
“I’m just glad he didn’t skip the whole weekend. It wouldn’t be the first time… So… what are you up to today?”
“I’m seriously considering drinking away the last five hours,” I tell her. “How about you?”
“I just finished painting my toenails, other than that I’m walking around aimlessly trying to figure out what I should do. I feel like I’m forgetting something, you know? It’s been over two weeks since I’ve had freedom.”
“I suggest dancing naked in your living room,” I smirk. Of course that leads to thoughts of what she looks like naked.
“Oh, I did that before I painted my toes,” she deadpans. “I didn’t want to mess up the polish.”
“Smart woman. What kind of dance was it? I’m trying to get a visual here.”
She laughs and says, “Belly dancing. I’ve been trying to figure it out for years.”
Oh hello boner.
“Really? You know, I might be able to help you with that,” I tell her.
“Oh yeah? How could you help me, Mr. Northman?” she asks and I can hear the smile in her voice.
“It would be hard work, but I could watch you do it and tell you what didn’t work,” I suggest.
“Hmm, and would you expect me to keep my clothes on, or do it naked like I normally practice?”
Naked. Definitely naked.
“Oh I have a preference, but I’m not one to pressure a lady.”
“I bet I can guess, but I hate being wrong.”
“Sookie, I’d be a fool not to pick the naked option,” I say.
“I’d do it only if you were naked too,” she says, practically purring.
“Deal,” I reply without hesitation.
“So are you going to do that drinking you were planning on, or do you have something else planned?” she asks after a long silence.
“That depends on you. You could provide the entertainment and I’ll provide the refreshments,” I suggest.
“Would this be a second date, or just new friends hanging out?”
“How about both?”
“In that case I’ll actually change to a real purse and not carry a diaper bag,” she giggles. “My place or yours?”
“Your choice. I can come to you if you want,” I offer.
“Mmm, I’ll come there. I’ve cleaned up the bomb site, but it would be nice to get away from it for a while.”
“Then in that case, mi casa es su casa,” I tell her and give Sookie my address.
“I’ll be there in twenty minutes,” she says. “Should I bring anything?”
“Just you.” I get up off the couch and do a quick inventory of what needs to be tidied up.
“Okay, see you shortly.”
We hang up and I get to work straightening things up. I put on a pair of jeans and a different T-shirt. There’s beer in the fridge and a bottle of vodka in the freezer. I brush my teeth and just as I’m getting out of the bathroom the doorbell rings.
I open the door to find Sookie standing there in jeans and a shirt that’s dangling off one of her shoulders. She looks good.
“Come in,” I smile and step back.
“Thank you,” she says nervously and walks past me into the house.
“Don’t worry. Leatherface is chained up in the cellar and my chainsaw is in the shop.” I close the door.
“Good to know I caught you during down time. I don’t feel like being axe murdered today,” she says as she looks around.
“Then definitely don’t look in the pantry,” I smirk.
“Killer canned goods?” She looks over at me with her own smirk. It’s a good look on her.
“I like finger foods,” I shrug.
“Where can I put this?” she asks, holding up her purse.
“You brought a purse. I must be special,” I say as I lead her into the living room.
“I needed to feel like an adult for a day,” she shrugs.
“I don’t blame you. You can set your purse anywhere. Do you want something to drink?”
“Uh, sure, what do you have?” she asks as she sets her purse on an end table.
“Three kinds of beer, water, whole milk, orange juice, lemonade, water, Dr. Pepper…” I trail off.
“You know, I’m going to go full on adult and have a beer. Surprise me on the type,” she smiles.
“You got it.” I turn for the kitchen and grab two beers from the fridge. I hand Sookie the Sam Adams.
“Thank you.” She takes a sip and looks around the room. She’s still nervous.
I sit down on the other end of the couch and say, “You know I’m not really expecting you to belly dance naked for me. That’s clearly fifth date activity.”
She laughs and says, “Damn and I was drinking the beer to lube… ahh… loosen me up.”
I can think of a few other ways to lube her up, but I keep them to myself.
“Well if you simply have to get naked, by all means,” I smile at her.
“Nope, now I’m waiting till date five, but if you get enough of these beers in me I’ll belly dance clothed,” she winks and takes a bigger drink of her beer.
I set my beer on the end table and move closer to her. I hear her suck in a breath and before she can ask what I’m doing, I kiss her like I wanted to last night. Nothing too serious, but I don’t want to do it when she’s drunk.
“That’s how last night would have ended if it wasn’t for our audience,” I tell her.
“Oh,” she blushes and puts her fingers to her lips. “That would’ve been a very nice ending. Thank you, Eric.”
“You’re welcome.” I scoot over again to give her some more space.
“So… what happened this morning that had you ready to drink?” she asks, searching for something to talk about.
“My younger sister came over in a panic. She had a pregnancy scare,” I answer, giving her the short version.
“Ouch. I guess since you said scare she’s not, and that’s a good thing?” she inquires.
“It’s a very good thing. Pam is about as maternal as a rock and as dramatic as a telenovela actress,” I explain.
“She sounds like a hoot,” Sookie says sarcastically.
“That’s not the four letter word I’d use, but sure,” I chuckle and grab my beer.
“Any other siblings?” she asks me and she’s getting close to finishing her beer.
“No, just Pam. She’s more than enough for anyone,” I chuckle. “How about you?”
“I just have the one brother, Jason. He’s… interesting,” she giggles.
“Oh yeah?” I raise an eyebrow. “Why is that?”
“He’s not exactly the brightest crayon in the box. He has a way about him that’s hard to explain. Jason is definitely my comic relief,” she says.
“Wanna trade? I would gladly give you Pam,” I say seriously.
“Nope, I wouldn’t trade my brother for the world,” she tells me.
“Damn. One day I’ll pawn her off on someone,” I chuckle. “Although Joey would probably love her. Pam is almost always in pink. Even her car is pink.”
“Ooh, maybe I can sweet talk her into babysitting for me,” Sookie teases.
“Only if you want to come home to find her sorting through your daughter’s closet with a list of complaints.”
“I honestly don’t care. I need to get her new clothes soon anyway.”
“You’re no help,” I laugh.
“I assume Pam is a shopper?”
“More like a retail pillager,” I snicker.
“She can take Joey pillaging then. I hate shopping.”
“Your bank account will be seriously beyond empty, so be careful. Oh, and she’ll give Joey her first latte.”
“If she gives her a latte, she’s keeping her for a week until it wears off,” she laughs.
I laugh too, mostly at the idea of Pam taking care of a toddler for longer than a bathroom break.
“Want another beer?” I ask Sookie when she finishes hers.
“Sure,” she nods. “I haven’t had a drink in a few months, so this is like a treat. I spent my twenty-first birthday throwing up because I was pregnant, not from drinking too much.”
“It’s overrated, drinking that much,” I say as I grab her empty bottle. “Same brand or something different?”
“I’m up for surprises, so surprise me.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” I smile and head to the kitchen to get her another beer.