Me: Did you make it home okay?
I shot Sookie a text message when I woke up. She didn’t call or text the night before. I honestly didn’t expect her to. I didn’t know what the fuck flipped her switch, but whatever. She wasn’t my girlfriend.
I got out of bed and went to the bathroom to take a piss. I ended up cleaning the small mess we made the night before and then went to bed. Once I was done in the bathroom I went downstairs to let Molly out. I was standing in the kitchen making coffee when Sookie responded. At least I assumed it was Sookie when my phone buzzed.
Me: Did I do something to piss you off?
I thought we were becoming friends. I could have been wrong.
I didn’t respond. If she wanted to talk to me she would call or come over. I finished making my coffee and then got started on breakfast. I started thinking about my book. I hadn’t thought about it since Maria died. I had to get back to work. Everything I had in my brain for the book seemed to disappear with everything I was going through.
I was getting to the climax of the story. Jude was getting ready to have the big fight with the killer. Initially he was going to win the fight, but my mood lately made me want to kill him off. It wasn’t something I normally did. I was a sucker for a happy ending. Maybe the readers would like something different.
I picked my phone up from the counter and dialed my editor’s number. She knew my shit better than I did.
“This better be Eric because if he slit his wrists I’m going to trash the shit out of him during his eulogy.” I hadn’t called Pam in over two weeks. That wasn’t normal.
“I’m thinking about killing Jude,” I said in lieu of hello. “My mood kinda shifted…” She didn’t know about Maria cheating. I was going to have to tell her.
“Well then write that bullshit to get it out of your system and then forget that you did it,” she advised.
“I think I can find a way that the readers wouldn’t try to castrate me,” I shrugged, even though she couldn’t see it.
“I want you to put down whatever pipe you’ve been smoking out of and rethink what you’re telling me,” she said seriously.
“Pam, I haven’t been in a good spot,” I sighed. “After Maria died I discovered she was having an affair. That kind of took all the HEA out of my sails.”
“Eric, you don’t take your personal shit out on your story, comprende?” Pam said in that tough tone of hers. “You suck it up and you go with the ending that makes the most sense for the story. If you need more time, no one will fault you for it but do not fuck up the entire book because your wife was a lying twat.”
“Then I’m going to need more time.” Sadly, the only person that gave a flying fuck about my pain over the cheating lost her goddamn mind the night before so I wasn’t sure where we stood.
“I can make that happen. Don’t kill off your hero. You are not Paul Sheldon, you hear me?”
With the vacation my brain took I felt like I was. I felt like Annie whacked my ankles and took every ounce of creativity I possessed.
“I don’t know how long it’s going to take to get out of this funk.”
“Take a break, Eric. Go hang out on a mountain somewhere or feed the poor in India or lay on a beach in the Caribbean. Get away from that house she filled with that tacky, kitschy shit and get your head on straight. Then try again. Hell, get laid. Fuck anything with a vag,” Pam advised. “I know I would.”
“I’ve already started redecorating,” I said. “And I fucked Ginger… and the wife of the man she was cheating with. A lot.”
“How very Shakespearean of you,” she snorted.
“What about you?” I asked with a small smile that she couldn’t see. “Are you on the menu?” Pam was into women, but I’d seen her with men. She was tall and willowy, and fucking gorgeous. Like model gorgeous. Maria hated that we were so close.
“Slow down, junior. You’re not ready for me yet,” Pam replied.
“That’s what you think,” I chuckled.
“Trust me, you’re not. You couldn’t handle it. Unless you’ve always wanted to be my bitch and have a secret desire to get pegged.”
Nope. She could keep that shit to herself.
“You used to be so pretty. That little bit of information just took it all.”
“Fuck you, I’m still the prettiest princess in all the land,” she scoffed.
“Nope. Does Jessica still have the hots for me? Maybe she can be the new pretty princess.”
“She’s married now. You missed your shot.”
“Damn. What about Nora?” One of Pam’s friends.
“She’s fucking her way to the top at a rival house now.”
“So what you’re telling me is she’s easy.”
“What I’m telling you is that she’s a sleazy whore who will gladly take it up the ass if it gets her a bigger office.”
“I’ll take that. Then politely tell her I can’t get her an office,” I chuckled.
“Enjoy the complimentary Herpes.”
There was that.
“Maybe I will go on a vacation,” I sighed. “Will you watch Molly if I go?”
“I don’t do dogs. I prefer pussy.”
“She’s not into bestiality anyway,” I told her.
“I’m afraid to ask how you know that, you sick fucker.”
I laughed and said, “I was joking, asshole.”
“You brought it up.”
“So it looks like I’m screwed on a vacation. I’m not going to board Molly.” I had plenty of people to take her. I didn’t want to leave her with someone so soon after losing Maria though.
“What about your mother-in-law?”
“She’s allergic.” My mom didn’t live in the state either. “I really don’t want to leave her alone so soon after losing Maria. She’s been extra clingy and whiny since she stopped coming home.”
“You don’t know it but I’m standing here blinking, trying to figure out if you’re bullshitting me or not.”
“I’m not. Dogs are sensitive,” I told her. “They miss people just like people miss people, if not more. And Sandy really is allergic.”
“Do they have dog shrinks? You could look into canine grief counseling.” Bitch.
“Pam, I don’t talk to you about Molly because you have the emotional range of a Cheerio.”
“And you have the sense of humor of an old piece of toast. You’re the one yammering about canine psychology. I’m offering suggestions. Don’t be such a whiner.”
“Why did I call you again?” I asked.
“Because you had a bonehead idea for your book.”
“I still think it’s a good idea.” I could write a book about a grieving husband and base the bad guy on Alcide. Then I could kill the asshole.
“Write it. You’ll get it back with a ton of red ink and that’ll be the end of it,” she sighed.
“I’m just going to take some time off,” I replied. I heard the doorbell ring. “Pam someone just showed up.”
“Fine. Just keep in mind that you don’t really want to kill Jude; you want to kill your wife and the dick she was riding besides yours,” she told me.
“Yeah, yeah,” I sighed. “I’ll talk to you later.” I hung up the phone and headed to the front door.
I smiled when I looked through the peephole and saw Clancy there. I had a suspicion why he was at my house. His brother saw me pay Sookie’s tab and leave the bar with her a few days before.
“What’s up, man?” I greeted him as I opened the door to let him in.
“Not much. Just thought I’d make sure you didn’t go hang yourself in the garage,” he replied.
“You’re the second person to mention something like that in the last hour. Am I that bad?”
“Like I said, just checking. I know you’re a Billy Ray Valentine motherfucker,” he smirked.
I chuckled as I lead him to the kitchen. “Coffee?” The pot was still fairly fresh.
“Yeah,” he replied.
I grabbed a mug down from the cabinet to pour him a cup. He liked it black, which I found strange.
“What’s new with you?” I’d been pretty reclusive since Maria died. I had a hard time admitting to myself it was suicide. No one knew if that was the truth, but it was implied.
“Eh, same shit different day for the most part,” he said. He took a seat at the kitchen table and sipped his coffee. “Amanda has been hinting around that she’s expecting a ring in the near future.”
“How do you feel about that?” I was on the fence for the time being on my thoughts about marriage since mine was apparently a sham.
“I don’t know. I love her but I don’t know if she’s the end game, you know? I’m gonna have to shit or get off the pot though. Her younger sister just got engaged so you know what that means…”
“I say don’t do it. If you don’t feel like she’s the one cut bait.” I didn’t even have to think about that answer.
“I’m thinking it over,” he shrugged. If they got married it would end in divorce in less than two years. That was my prediction.
“You’re the one that has to live with her,” I commented. “I’m bitter though, so my advice might not be the best. I just called Pam and told her I wanted to kill off my main character.”
“I was kindly informed that Maria was cheating on me for two years before she died,” I told him. It was getting easier to say.
“What the fuck?”
“That was pretty much my response. The guy she was fucking was married with a kid. His wife showed up at the house to confront Maria after she found pictures and letters when she was going through his shit. Apparently he died a few weeks before Maria smashed into the tree,” I explained.
“Seriously? Oh shit, was it that Herveaux guy? Amanda’s cousin Pat was his business partner.”
“Small fucking world,” I muttered. “Yeah, that was the prick.”
Clancy shook his head.
“He used to come into the bar with his crew. He was actually a really good guy–”
“He started cheating with my wife, while his wife was pregnant. He was a fucking dirty snake. He was not a good guy,” I growled.
“Okay, then he seemed like a good guy.”
“He was good at covering his ass. The wife had no clue, neither did I,” I sighed. I hated to think I was just blind to the signs.
“That’s fucked up.”
“Yeah, it is. Sookie came over last night and we burned all the pictures and letters. It made us feel better.” Until she turned into a fucking weirdo.
“Is that who you left the bar with the other day?”
“You dirty dog,” he shook his head with a laugh.
“We figured they could do it, so could we. She’s a fucking firecracker in the sack. She’s pretty flexible too,” I smirked.
More head shaking.
“I fucked Ginger too…” That was sure to get a reaction.
“Who hasn’t?” he smirked.
“Oh, that’s sick,” I laughed. “I’m guessing all of you fuckers have. She’s…” I didn’t have the right word for Ginger.
“There may have been a Neapolitan experience with Danielle…”
“Huh… So you’re saying if I’m feeling kinky she’s the one to call?” I chuckled. I kinda figured that since she let me fuck her in the ass. A lot.
“Looks like I have a call to make,” I snorted. “Pam told me to go on a Caribbean vacation and fuck anything with a vag.”
“I would have thought she’s more of an Isle of Lesbos type based on the things you told me,” he snickered. “But it’s not a bad idea. You railed your wife’s best friend and the wife of the guy she was porking, so why not go free range?”
“I asked Pam if she was on the menu. She brought up pegging so I promptly recanted,” I told him. “I don’t know yet. I’ll see what happens. If I get horny I have a few people I can call. I don’t really feel safe meeting a chick in the bar these days.” I knew quite a few women that wanted me. They hated that I was so committed to Maria.
“Maybe give that pegging thing a shot,” he suggested with a laugh.
“I don’t think so, Tim,” I deadpanned.
“Awwww come on… take it like a man,” he snorted.
“Something tells me you done it and you like it.”
“Fuck no,” he laughed. “Although Ginger tried one of those prostate orgasm things–”
“You let her stick something up your ass?” I said, cutting him off.
“Dude, you don’t know… It’ll blow your fuckin’ balls off.”
“I’ll pass, thanks,” I said, shaking my head. “My anal play only goes one direction.”
“It doesn’t make you gay if you do it.”
“I know it doesn’t, but I’m not comfortable with it.”
“I think you’re afraid you’d like it. And you would. A lot.”
“I’ll take your word for it. That does make me want to call Ginger and tell her to bring a friend over though.”
“So the widow was a onetime thing?” He got up to refill his coffee.
“I spent two nights in a row with the widow. We were working on three when she flipped her shit and decided to walk home last night. We were drinking vodka. I fucked her the first time after a night of Jameson. I think the vodka hit her wrong.”
“Could be. You turn into the fuckin’ Hulk if you have too much rum,” he snickered.
“Exactly. She probably doesn’t drink too much either since she has a toddler.”
“Probably not. Herveaux never brought his wife in with him but I saw pictures of her and their kid a few times. He was either fuckin’ dumb for cheating on her or she’s a she devil with the face of an angel.”
“From what I know I’m going with fuckin’ dumb. I’m only the second guy she’s been with. I think she’s still learning about what she likes. I slapped her ass and it made her eyes cross,” I chuckled. “I’ve been trying to figure out for weeks what Maria had that Sookie didn’t and vice versa.”
“Maybe he was tired of the kid?” Clancy suggested.
“It started before she was born. Sookie’s a little self-conscious about her body when she’s sober though, so that could be it. I met the girl. She toddled into the room and climbed up onto Sookie’s bed with me,” I chuckled. “She just started at me trying to figure me out before Sookie came back into the room.”
“Oh shit. That’s awkward as fuck. Well maybe he was over the marriage. He had to have been if he had a long-term relationship with another woman. We both know a one night thing can be meaningless but you don’t get with a chick for two years if she’s just a fuck.”
“I know,” I sighed. “I’m going to drive myself crazy if I try to figure it out. I’m trying to figure out how to forgive Maria.”
“Eventually you will. Probably not until you meet someone who doesn’t remind you of her in any way but still makes you feel the way she did in the beginning,” he replied.
“Yeah,” I agreed. “For now I guess I’ll get kinky sex from Ginger and regular sex from Sookie, if she wants to again,” I snorted. I didn’t want to think about it. It was all I’d been doing for weeks. I burned the stuff the night before which was a start.
Clancy and I sat around drinking coffee all morning while we caught up. Since losing Maria he had made the best points. I should have called him to begin with. There was a reason he was one of my best friends.
“I think I want to sell the house,” I told Jason while we watched Willa run through the sprinkler with George.
“Really? You put so much work into this place though,” he replied.
“I did. I thought this was my forever house but everything feels like a lie now.” I took a drink from my wine glass. I had been drinking more than I used to but I didn’t feel as much when I did so I tried to maintain a nice buzz.
“Makes sense. Are you thinking about looking in the same area?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t gotten that far,” I shrugged.
“Well, when you figure it out you know I’ll help you look and move,” Jason told me.
I was quiet for a while. It had been three weeks since I last saw Eric. The reality of the loss I’d suffered was finally sinking in. Willa wasn’t asking for her daddy anymore and that, as it turned out, was more painful than her crying for him to come back. I got the life insurance money. Willa officially had a healthy trust fund and I didn’t have to worry about going back to work anytime soon. I had nothing to do but keep my daughter alive. It felt like every day was exactly the same.
“Am I a bad mother?” I asked my brother.
“I feel like I am.” I took another drink. “Sometimes I think she’d be better off with someone else raising her. Someone who could keep a marriage together and had a life of their own.”
“That’s crazy talk. You’re an amazing mother. She adores you,” he said. “If you’re worried about a life of your own, go out. Jackson has her Friday nights. I can hang out with her whenever. You’re a good mom, though. Never doubt that.”
“If I was a good mom I wouldn’t be trying to pawn my kid off on other people,” I sighed.
“You’re not. I offered to take her. Have you thought maybe you need a break? You’ve been with her almost constantly for weeks now.”
“Moms don’t get breaks, Jase. Parenting never ends.”
“I think that’s bullshit,” he said, shaking his head. “You have people that are willing to give you some time off and I think you deserve it. I also think you’re getting a bit of cabin fever or else you wouldn’t be thinking you’re a bad mom.”
“Maybe. Or maybe Al knew it too and that’s why he went looking for a replacement.” It wasn’t farfetched.
“We don’t know what made him do what he did. If you ask me he just wanted his cake and to eat it too. I highly doubt he thought you were a bad mother. If he thought that he woulda tried to take Willa and raise her with the other woman.”
“Maybe.” I finished off what was in my glass and carefully stood up to go get a refill.
“I don’t know what made him do such a stupid thing, but you aren’t a bad mom,” Jason said again.
“Maybe not, but I must have been doing something wrong.” I went inside and refilled my wine glass. If he looked in my trash he might rethink that bad mom thing. I went outside again and plopped down on the deck steps. I wasn’t graceful about it either.
“I don’t think so. I think he just got greedy.”
“I don’t believe that. If I cheated on him it wouldn’t be just because I saw a cute guy. Something would have to be wrong with my marriage to go that route,” I said.
I wasn’t just saying that because Maria was a chicken head.
“There’s no use sitting here trying to figure it out. All it’s going to do is make you feel more down. He isn’t around to answer these questions, Sook.”
“So I just accept it, is that what I do? It doesn’t work like that, Jason.” Of course he was never in love with anyone but himself so how would he know how I felt?
“Find someone that knew and ask them, then. Putting yourself down like you’re doing isn’t helping.”
“You knew him. You didn’t know. No one did. He’s not here so all I can do is assume. That’s what I’m left with, Jason.”
“I don’t know then, Sook. I don’t know why he did it, but don’t think it was what you’re thinking.”
I shook my head. There had to be a reason.
“You’re my brother. I think you’re just biased.”
“Then go talk to his friends,” Jason shrugged. “Talk to that guy and see if he figured out why his wife did it.”
“He has no idea,” I sighed. “And I don’t know if we have anything else to say to each other.”
“Then I got nothing. Wait, what do you mean anything else?”
“He didn’t know about the affair either, that’s all,” I explained.
“Maybe he’s talked to her friends?”
“They didn’t know either, Jason. They kept it a secret. He was going to leave me for her and maybe take Willa with him. Or worse he’d leave and forget that baby ever existed.” There really wasn’t enough wine in the world to deal with the shit I had flying around me.
“How do you know that?” he asked.
“Because I read the letters!” Duh.
“Hell, what are you yelling at me for?” he asked, flinching back.
“Never mind. Willa, time to go inside and dry off!” I called.
“I think I’m going to go unless you want me to watch her for you,” Jason offered.
“We’re fine,” I told him. “Willa, let’s go!”
“No thank you, Mama! I play!”
I sighed and pulled myself up on the railing.
“Willa, come on.” I went down the steps to the lawn. She took off running, thinking I was going to chase her. Usually I probably would have but I wasn’t in the mood for that shit.
“I’ll get her,” Jason offered as he stood up.
I let him go while I swayed on my feet a little. Maybe I was a little more than buzzed.
I turned to go back into the house… and tripped going up the steps. I hit the deck hard with a curse and for a few seconds everything went black. Jason was yelling my name when I opened my eyes again.
“I’m okay,” I said as I sat up.
“How many fingers am I holding up?” he asked, flashing his hand with three fingers up.
“How many bottles of wine have you had?”
“In my whole life? I don’t know,” I shrugged.
He sighed and said, “I’m taking Willa to Mom’s for the night.”
“Why? I’m okay.”
“You’re drunk, Sookie,” he pointed out. “As your brother and as an officer of the law, I’m making the call to take Willa to Mom’s.”
“You can’t do that. It’s not illegal to be drunk in my own house,” I argued.
“You can’t even walk up the stairs on your own. What happens if you try to carry Willa up to her room and fall?” He turned to Willa and asked, “Willa, you want to go to Grammy’s?”
“Willa would go to the dentist if you asked her nice enough,” I muttered.
“I’m going to go call Mom and get her stuff together. Do you want me to come back?”
“Don’t bother. I’m fine, Jason,” I told him.
“Yeah, well, maybe you should sleep it off. Come on Willa, let’s go get your things.”
I watched my daughter run inside. I stayed right where I was on the deck. My face hurt where I landed on it. No doubt I was going to have a hell of a bruise later on, but it wasn’t like I had anything to be fancy for. My husband was still dead and my brother was taking my daughter away.
Could life possibly get any better?
Since I didn’t have Willa I decided to take a cab up to Gilroy’s. Jason said I should go out, so I took his advice. I was wearing a little black dress and fuck me shoes. Putting on mascara was tricky but I managed. When I walked in I headed straight to the bar and ordered myself a glass of champagne, which had the bartender looking at me like I was nuts.
“Sorry, love, we’re fresh out of the bubbly,” he replied with a charming, Irish accent.
“Too bad,” I frowned. There was a shot menu on the wall so I said, “How about a Woo Woo shot instead?”
“Coming right up,” he winked.
The shot was peach schnapps, vodka and cranberry juice. If I didn’t like it, it was no big deal.
I plopped down on a stool and looked around to see if I knew anyone. Usually I was home with Willa. If I went out it was with my husband and we didn’t hang out in a dive bar.
“Here you go, love,” the bartender said as he set the drink down in front of me. It looked good.
“Thanks,” I smiled. I took a little sip to try it out and it was delicious. The rest of it disappeared quickly.
“Please,” I nodded.
I felt heat against my back before a familiar voice purred in my ear, “What’s a pretty girl like you doing in a dive like this?”
“Getting fucked up,” I replied. “Want a shot?”
“I’d love a shot. What are we drinking?” Eric slid onto the stool next to mine.
“I’m drinking Woo Woo shots.”
“I don’t know what that is, but I’m game to try anything. How have you been, Sookie?”
“That sounds about right,” he agreed. “Which is probably why we’re both sitting here getting shitfaced.”
“My brother took Willa away from me.” I reached for the second shot the bartender put before me.
“Oh shit, how long ago?” Eric ordered his own shot and told the bartender to put them on his tab.
“This afternoon. I may have had a little too much wine with my wine,” I explained.
“I see,” he nodded. “You’re going through a shitty time, it’s okay to have a little wine every now and then. I actually bought some wine for my place. I almost have a full fuckin’ bar now.”
“Smart man. Who needs solid food, right?”
“The pizza delivery boy knows my whole life story,” he chuckled. “Every now and then Ginger pops in to make sure I have a healthy meal.”
“I cook for Willa but I haven’t been hungry,” I shrugged.
“I know how you feel. But hey, you look really fuckin’ good,” he smirked, glancing at my cleavage.
“I’m a mess,” I laughed.
“You’re not showing it.” He leaned over and I felt his nose run up the side of my neck. “You smell good too,” he said as he pulled back.
“I’m surprised you’re here. I would have figured you would have found someone to play with who isn’t lugging around ten tons of baggage,” I said.
“I have my own baggage,” he shrugged. “Besides, you’re fun to play with.”
“Used to be.”
“Oh, I doubt that,” he smirked.
“On what basis?”
“I doubt you got boring in three weeks, Sookie.”
“You’d be surprised,” I snorted.
“Only one way to find out.” Eric’s shot was delivered. He shot it back before ordering us another round.
“Trust me, I’m angry, bitter, mean and I don’t really give a fuck if I hurt anyone’s feelings right now,” I warned him.
“Angry sex is sometimes the best sex,” he told me.
“I wouldn’t know anything about that.”
“Not too hard to find out. You may like it.”
“You might not. You’re too much of a control freak in bed,” I reminded him.
“Like I said, only one way to find out. I may even lie back and let you run the show,” he winked.
“You’re not wired that way.”
“I like that you know me well enough to say what I’m capable of doing,” he said.
“It’s an observation based on experience,” I shrugged. “You like being in control. After the way your wife fucked you over I’m not surprised.”
“You were fucked over too. Maybe you need to be in control for once. I trust you enough to let you do that.”
“Maybe I just want to be drunk and angry,” I proposed.
“Then by all means, be drunk and angry.” Our shots were delivered and Eric lifted his to shoot it back.
I did the same and then ordered a tropical looking drink from the little menu sitting on the bar. It was blue with a piece of pineapple on the rim. To me it looked like Hawaii in a hurricane glass.
“I think my brother was right to take my daughter away. I’m not sure I’m good for her right now,” I told Eric.
“What have you been doing that’s so bad?”
“I’m just not being a good mother.”
“Are you leaving her alone all night or locking her in a room?”
“By my standards I’m not doing a very good job.” My standards were all that mattered.
“Have you thought about seeking counseling?” he asked, reaching over to massage the back of my neck.
“A counselor can’t help me unless they’re also a psychic that can talk to the dead,” I told him.
The bartender brought me my drink and sat it on the bar. Yep, Hawaii in a glass.
A broad shouldered guy with a bald head parked himself next to me. He had violet eyes and dark eyebrows. I wondered if he shaved his head since he had such dark brows.
“Your head is shiny,” I blurted out.
Eric snorted on the other side of me.
“Thanks,” Mr. Violet Eyes replied. Those eyes shot right down to my tits to check out my cleavage.
“See something you like, Cue Ball?” I smirked.
“I do,” he said, licking his lips.
I turned toward the bar and grabbed my drink.
“I’m going to go dance, boys,” I said before I got up and made my way to the dance floor. I didn’t care if either of them followed me. For a while I didn’t want to think or analyze my life.
I wanted to get lost. Maybe stay that way.