Chapter 2





The next morning I’m woken up by Trey and Pam fucking. She’s a screamer so a pillow over my head doesn’t help. After ten minutes I give up and get out of bed. I smell coffee and bacon downstairs so Bobby Flay is at work on breakfast already. I have no idea where I’m going to take Sookie tonight so I’ll have to do some research to find out where the good places are to go in town.


I stop in the downstairs bathroom to piss and then go to the kitchen. Bobby is sitting at the table that’s lined with benches instead of chairs and he’s got a giant mug of coffee and a plate full of bacon in front of him.


“Pam wake you up too?” I ask him and steal a piece of the bacon.


“Yeah. I don’t know why we agreed to stay with them.”


“Because at first Pam wasn’t tagging along,” I remind him as I slice an everything bagel and pop it in the toaster.


The bed rattles overhead and we both look up at the ceiling.


“I think I’ll be spending the day at the beach,” Bobby says while he’s looking up.


“Good idea. I’m going into town to scout date locations for later.” I grab the cream cheese out of the fridge along with the orange juice.


“Oh, who are you hooking up with? Anyone I might’ve seen last night?”


“If you saw me walking with a curvy blonde, that’s her,” I answer.


“Amelia’s friend,” he says. “She’s hot. A little too thick for my taste, though.”


“It’s okay that you like chicks that have the body of a twelve-year-old boy.” Amelia has one too. Sookie pointed her out to me. Not that it was hard to spot her since she had her hand down Bobby’s shorts at the time.


“I am not gay,” Bobby argues again, even though I didn’t accuse him of being so.


“Didn’t say you are. You just have a type. I like girls with curves for days and you like ’em flat as a pancake.”


“I like tits too; they just normally don’t have them when they’re as small as I like them. Unless they’re fake.”


Uh huh.


“Well if you want to tag along with me, that’s cool,” I tell him.


Pam lets out a hell of a scream overhead and we both jump.


“Jesus, is he fucking her or murdering her up there?” I mutter.


“I’m just going to shower and head to the beach.”


“Suit yourself,” I shrug. My bagel pops up and I spread cream cheese on it. I’m just getting to the table when Trey comes swaggering in with his ‘I just got laid’ look on his face.


“Morning, gentlemen,” he says cheerfully.


“While I’m out I’m getting Pam a ball gag,” I tell him.


“We’d still hear her,” Bobby quips.


“I’ll try not to be so awesome,” Trey grins and pour coffee.


Pam comes down in one of Trey’s shirts with a similar grin on her face.


“Holy shit, she can walk,” I smirk. I like Pam. She brings Trey out of his shell. He’s one of the most subdued guys I’ve ever met.


“You’re just jealous you’ve never made a girl scream like that, Northman,” Pam says as she goes for the coffee.


“How would you know?” I arch an eyebrow.


“You look like you’re weak in bed,” she shrugs.


“If you weren’t Trey’s girl I’d offer you a chance to find out. You’ll have to stick to his hairy ass instead,” I smirk.


“I like my men hairy,” she says, looking me up and down. I’m shirtless with a small smattering of hair on my chest. “You just don’t do it for me, princess.”


“Eh, it’s cool. I like having good hearing,” I shrug.


“If you two are done, we’re going back upstairs,” Trey says.


“Have at it,” I reply and take a bite of my bagel. Once they’re upstairs I look at Bobby and say, “Ten bucks says they’re fucking again in less than five minutes.”


“I’m not dumb enough to take that bet,” he chuckles.


He should have. It takes six minutes.




I arrive at Sookie’s place just a few minutes before six and she looks amazing. Her hair is down and she’s wearing a skirt and a tank top that displays her cleavage nicely. She also smells fantastic. I hand her a single pink flower, I don’t know what kind, and kiss her cheek.


“You look beautiful, Sookie,” I tell her. She’s got a little sunburn on her shoulders and nose from working outside all day.


“Thank you, you look handsome yourself,” she smiles, and then turns to catch my lips. “Just getting the end of the date out of the way now,” she whispers when she pulls back.


“That’s not how the date is going to end,” I tell her.


“Then tell me, how is it going to end?” she asks with a little twinkle in her eye.


“That’s no fun. Don’t you like surprises?”


“No,” she giggles as she opens the door wider so I can follow her in.


“You’ll be flushed, sweaty, breathing hard and maybe a little hoarse from all the noise you’ll be making very soon,” I whisper in her ear once I have her cornered.


“Are you taking me to build more houses?” she asks quietly. I can feel her breath quicken and her nipples harden against my chest.


“Nope, but I’ve got a ton of thoughts about nailing you.” I kiss her neck and then pull back to give her some room. For someone who says she’s ‘not that girl’, Sookie seems to like the forwardness of what I’m saying to her.


“I highly doubt you’ll be nailing me,” she says and turns to grab a tall glass so she can put the flower in it.


“You’re probably right,” I agree. I can dream.


“Are you ready?” she asks, and grabs her small clutch.


“Yes, ma’am,” I smile and follow her out of the house.


The old Jeep doesn’t have doors on it, so there’s nothing for me to hold open for her. Sookie climbs in and I get behind the wheel. Old Bubba has been with me since I was fifteen and he belonged to my grandfather before me. He’s a good old Jeep. I start him up and back away from Sookie’s little cabin.


“So I did some asking around today. Have you heard of The Piano Man?” I ask her.


“Nope, I haven’t gotten out much since I’ve been here.”


“The locals I talked to swear by it,” I tell her and look Sookie’s way to see her reaction when I say, “You have to sing for your supper.”


“That’s not a problem,” she grins. “I sing all the time.”


“Oh really?” I know she’s pre-law at Berkeley so she’s smart in addition to being beautiful.


“Yep. I love singing. I specialize in Golden Oldies,” she tells me.




“Etta James is one of my favorites, and my mom used to sing Patsy Cline to me all the time before she passed away,” Sookie explains.


“I’m sorry about your mom,” I say sincerely. “My dad died when I was seventeen.”


“Both of my parents crashed in a bad accident on the back roads near our house. The fog was terrible and they were side swiped by someone that wasn’t obeying the drive slower in dense fog rule. It was years ago,” she shrugs. “I miss them, but I’ve come to terms with it.”


“That’s all you can do. My dad was a firefighter. He got trapped in a warehouse and his crew couldn’t get to him in time,” I explain. Even if they had, it would have been too late. A steel beam fell on him.


“I’m sorry to hear that,” she says and reaches over to rest her hand on mine.


“Thanks,” I smile at her. “You’ll probably think I’m nuts, but I’m applying to join the fire department after graduation.”


“I don’t think that at all,” she says sincerely. “I think it’s admirable.”


“I figure I have just as much of a chance of getting seriously hurt if I keep playing football, but at least I’ll be helping people if I work for the fire department,” I explain. We’re right around the corner from The Piano Man.


“That’s very true.”


I pull into the parking lot and the spaces are scarce. It’s a big lot and not even 6:30, and already it’s pretty busy. Sookie gets out of the Jeep and I follow her. We meet at the front of the Jeep and I take her hands while we walk to the door of the bar/restaurant. We’re greeted by a tall brunette with a toothy smile and chocolate brown eyes.


“Welcome to The Piano Man. Dinner or drinks?” she asks.




“Alright,” she nods and hands each of us a menu but it’s full of song choices. “Make your selection and take it to the stage. After you sing you’ll be seated. Enjoy your meal.”


We thank her and we’re ushered to the bar area where the stage is. Sookie starts looking at her choices while I go to the bar to get us drinks. I get her a bottle of the beer she was drinking last night and get myself a jack and Coke.


“Here you go,” I hand her the beer. “Find anything good?”


“Yep, Etta James, Sunday Kind of Love,” she smiles, “Thanks for the beer.”


“You’re welcome. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before,” I tell her.


“It’s a beautiful song. It’s about a girl that doesn’t want a player, she wants real love. My voice is nowhere near as good as Etta’s, but I can’t help myself.”


“If we picked songs by voices I’d end up with ‘The Rainbow Connection’,” I joke. “I’m sure you’ll do Ms. James proud.”


She laughs and says, “Thank you, I hope so.”


“What would you recommend for a frog man like me?” I ask her. My eyes scan the ‘menu’ and I spot Otis Redding. My Dad loved Otis. I think I have a winner and it pairs nicely with Sookie’s choice… I think.


“I don’t know, it looks like you have something there,” she smiles and I realize my finger is resting over the song.


“Oh. Yeah,” I smile. “I think I do.”


“Whatcha got?”


“I’m leaning toward Otis here,” I reply but then my eyes catch something else that makes me laugh at its perfection.


“Sweetie, Otis isn’t that funny,” Sookie says, arching an eyebrow.


“But this is.” I point to ‘Fire’ by the Ohio Players. It’s perfect.


She laughs. “That is funny.”


“Good. Then let’s go put our choices in.”


“After you.”


We go over to the stage to give our names and song choices. Since the stage is currently empty Sookie is handed a microphone.


“You’re up,” the emcee tells her.


“Wish me luck,” she smiles and leans in to peck my lips before heading up to the stage.


“Sook, your beer,” I chuckle and reach out to take it from her.


“Oopsie,” she giggles.


I take her drink with me to a vacant table and sit down to watch her sing. Sookie’s actually got a good set of pipes. She was definitely underselling herself. The lyrics aren’t lost on me either, but I don’t know if I’m cut out for something long distance beyond this week. She’s a great girl and if she was closer, I would be crazy not to put her on lockdown, but I’m not in a position to be able to do that.


Sookie sings brilliantly and when she’s done, she gets a round of applause to reflect her job well done. I’m going to make an ass of myself.


“Your turn. I don’t want to sit alone,” she says when she approaches the table.


“Brace yourself,” I snicker and stand up.


“Consider me braced.”


I go up to the stage and wait for the music to start. Thankfully there’s a monitor there with the lyrics or I’d be in deep shit. I’m not much of a singer but I’m not horrible. The lyrics of the song I picked reflect the way I see Sookie and I don’t hesitate to look right at her when I sing them. Her cheeks pink up a little bit more with each sexually suggestive word that comes out of my mouth and just to make her laugh, I throw in a hip thrust.


Her jaw drops and then she hides her face while she laughs. She’s adorable. I don’t get the same applause Sookie got, but that’s okay. It’s all in good fun.


I walk off the stage and go back to her to get my drink. “You’re definitely the better singer,” I laugh.


“No offense, but yes. I can’t believe you sang that to me,” she blushes. “My poor virgin ears, you’re terrible,” she laughs.


“It could have been worse. I could have gone with ‘Bump ‘n Grind’ by R. Kelly,” I smirk.


“I think I would’ve burst into flames with that one. Fire was bad enough.”


“I think you liked it.”


Our names are called to be seated at our table while a middle-aged man gets up on stage to sing ‘Teenage Dream’.


No. Just no.


We’re led to our table and we’re given real menus. The options are few but I don’t mind that. Usually smaller menus mean they do what they do well. It also makes deciding what I want pretty easy.




Eric is ridiculous. He’s adorable, and a bit of a pervert. I like him though. He’s a good time filler for the rest of the week. We’re at the table and while I’m looking over the few menu items there are I can feel his eyes on me.


“Can I help you with something?” I ask with a small smile.


“Nope, I’m good.”


“Okay, just checking since your eyes haven’t left me in the last ten minutes.”


“Well I know what I want so now I’m just looking at the most interesting thing in the room,” he explains.


“Okay,” I blush and look back at the menu. I should know what I want already, but I can’t concentrate with his eyes on me.


I eventually decided on some burger sliders and sweet potato fries. I’m not a stick figure for a reason.


A waitress comes by and takes our dinner order. Eric gets the sliders with pulled pork and sweet potato fries.


“Wanna trade one with me?” he asks after the waitress goes to put our order in.


“Sure. I’m sure you’re used to your dates eating salad, but I like to stay warm.”


“Ummm…” Eric looks a little lost. “Warm is good.”


“I mean with the extra padding,” I say and tap my boob to let him know I’m talking about the extra weight I carry.


“Doesn’t look like extra to me,” he shrugs.


“You’re sweet,” I tell him. “So, how long are you staying in town?” I ask, Jessica and I are staying for an extra week.


“I leave Sunday. I’m driving back to Mississippi,” he says.


“Cool. Jess and I fly back to California next Wednesday. We’ve been here a little longer than you.”


“How’s the building going?”


“Really good. We have so many people we’re ahead of schedule,” I smile. “I’m having a lot of fun.”


“That’s great,” he smiles. “It’s a good cause to donate your time to. My folks took in a family after Katrina happened.”


“I wish I could do more, but I barely have time to breathe when class is in session.”


“I’m sure. I can’t imagine how much work goes into a law degree, but I know I’m insanely busy with football. It’s not really the same though.”


“I use my brain, you use your body,” I shrug. “I know there’s more to football, but I can literally sit in one place for four hours without moving.”


“Me too, but I call it sleeping,” he chuckles.


“I’ve gotten more sleep in the last week than I have in the last three months,” I giggle. “I live by cat naps and caffeine.”


“That’s so bad for you,” he shakes his head. “I need sleep.”


“I’m sure I’ll be able to catch up once I graduate. Hopefully.” I take the last drink of my beer and set the bottle on the edge of the table. “Enough about school. I don’t have any free time, but I’m sure you do. What is a normal day for Eric outside of class and football?”


“When I’m at school it’s mostly working out, studying and homework. I go to parties now and then but I have to maintain my GPA to keep my scholarship so I have to take things seriously,” he says.


“That’s good. What do you do for summers?” I’m so out of practice on dates I don’t know what to talk about.


“I go back home to Louisiana and work for my mom,” he smiles. “She owns a bakery so I’m up before sunrise to help bake things.”


“Ah, so a man that can bake. That’s awesome,” I grin. “My Gran raised me and she taught me everything she knows about cooking and baking. She was raised in Louisiana, but transplanted to California when my dad was a kid.”


“That’s cool,” he nods. “Play your cards right and I’ll make you a batch of the best brownies you’ve ever had.”


“I might like that. Brownies are my favorite sweet treat,” I smile. The server stops to take my empty and I order a second beer. I know Eric invited me out, but I’ll offer to pay my part.


“I prefer apple turnovers.”


“Then maybe you should make me an apple turnover to try to convert me,” I tell him.


“I could do that. What’s not to like? Cinnamon apples from scratch and the pastry is pretty much the same as a croissant…” he growls appreciatively.


“Those do sound amazing.” My beer comes back and I take a big swig. His little growl was way too sexy.


“They are amazing.”


“Is there anything you want to know about me, since you worked so hard to get me to come on this date with you.”


“Everything?” he smiles briefly but then his expression becomes more somber. “You know I paid attention to the song you sang. We don’t know much about each other but I know me. I’d like to spend time with you while I can but I know I’m not cut out for long distance relationships and it sounds like you’d be too busy for it even if I was. I just want to be upfront with you.”


I laugh and say, “Oh, Eric, I just love that song. I wasn’t sending any messages to you. You’re more or less something to kill time with while I’m in town. From the way you’ve talked to me I’m sure you feel the same.”


“Like I said, I just want to be upfront so it’s not weird later,” he says. “And just so you know, if you want to try that sleeping thing, I’m a blue ribbon snuggler.”


“I haven’t snuggled with anyone since… wow, maybe a nap with my high school boyfriend.”


“Well the offer is on the table.”


“Thanks. Something tells me there’s a lot more than snuggling being offered,” I say as our food is being delivered.


He gasps and says, “I don’t know what kind of boy you think I am, lady, but I’m not that guy.” Smartass.


“Good because I’m still not that girl,” I smile. I don’t think he believes me.


“And I can’t persuade you to give being that girl a try?” He sets one of his sliders on my plate.


I hand him one of my sliders and I sit back in my chair. I look at him for a few moments before I let the cat out of the bag.


“Eric, I’ve never been that girl… as in I’ve never… you know,” I say, trying to convey what I’m trying to say with my eyes.


He looks a little lost for a minute but then he gets it.


“So you’re still…” he trails off.


I nod. “I haven’t done that. Ever,” I say. I might as well tell him at the beginning of the week in case he wants to go out and find someone else to spend his time with.


“Okay,” he says casually. That’s it, just simple acceptance.


I pick up my burger slider and take a bite.


“This is really good,” I say with my mouth full. My Gran would smack me in the mouth for doing this.


Eric nods as he chews a bite of one his pulled pork sliders. I don’t know what to say to him, so I continue to eat. I don’t even look at him. He accepted it okay, but I don’t know if he’s just going to walk away since it’s likely that he has not going to get sex from me.


“I plan on paying for my half,” I say after a few minutes of silence. I don’t know if he was planning on paying for me, but I assume since he invited me out on the date he would.


“You don’t have to. I got it,” he says.


“I’m sure you don’t plan on hanging out with me anymore. I don’t want you to waste your money on someone that’s not a sure thing,” I sigh.


To my surprise, he actually looks angry. “I know you don’t know me very well but it’s rude and extremely judgmental to assume my sole interest in you is sex. If that was all I wanted I could have kept pouring drinks down your throat last night and waited for you to be too drunk to know what you were doing. I didn’t. It’s not my style, just like it’s not my style to walk away from a person I think is interesting because of their sexual history, or lack of one.”


“I’m sorry,” I say immediately. “You’re right, and I wasn’t raised to be so judgmental. I just… I don’t normally talk about it; my friends don’t even realize I’m a virgin. So… I apologize for being so quick to judge the kind of man you are.”


“Thank you. It’s nobody’s business what your status is, Sookie. You don’t have to explain yourself or justify your choices to anyone. You appear to be a smart girl, capable of deciding what’s best for you. You don’t need anyone’s input or validation for the way you live your life,” he says.


“Thank you. I’ll try to stop being so awkward now,” I say with a half-smile.


“If it helps, awkward looks good on you.”


I blush and say, “Thank you for that too…”


“You’re welcome. Try the pulled pork. It’s delicious,” he says. In one of his bites more than half the slider is gone.


I take a bite and moan as soon as the juicy pork hits my tongue. I look up at Eric and his eyes are on my lips.


“You weren’t kidding,” I say with my mouth full again.


“I rarely kid about food.”


“Good to know,” I smile after I swallow. “Do we have anything planned after dinner?”


“I already told you… sort of,” he smirks. “Remember? Hot, sweaty, breathing hard…”


“I told you I’m not going to build anymore houses,” I smile.


“I never said we were going to build houses.”


“Well then, Mr. Hot, sweaty, and breathless, what are we doing?”


“I thought we’d go to this club a few miles from here. I heard there’s a moon bounce out back.”


“As fun as that sounds, I’m in a skirt and a moon bounces don’t work out so well with skirts.”


“Sure it does,” his eyebrows wiggle.


“Pervert,” I giggle. “I’m a virgin, but I’m not innocent, so all you have to do is ask if you want to see my ass or my boobs bounce.”


His eyes light up.


“Sookie, can I see your–”


“Yes, I thought you’d never ask,” I cut him off and push my hand over the table at him, flashing him my fingernails. “I painted them special for this date.”


“They’re lovely,” he says. “And since you’ve vetoed the moon bounce I’ll just have to find another way to get you hot, sweaty and breathing hard.”


“I’m interested in seeing what you suggest next,” I wink.


“Not in polite company. I’m not sure your blush will go away.”


Oh… I’m definitely wearing my blush now.


We finish out dinner and after Eric pays he reaches out for my hand as we walk out to his Jeep. I thread my fingers through his, excited to see what he wants to do next. If he plays his cards right I may leave this trip an ex-virgin.



Faded Away 2

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