I’d moved back to Sweden the year before. I quit the business after we caught Victor Madden and moved back in with my mother. It gave her peace of mind to have me close. I missed my pub in Ireland, but my home was in Sweden, it always would be. My heart… well, I’d gotten word that my heart was in Sweden too.
At least that was what I heard around the rumor mill, which consisted of the local pub. There was word of an American moving to our quiet little town and opening a business. I had my suspicions of who it was, given the name of the B&B, but I had to see it with my own eyes.
I’d thought a lot about going to the US to find Sookie. I figured she’d moved on and forgotten about the old man that followed her around Europe. When I left Oslo that night I did it the way I did because if I’d waited for her to come out of the bathroom I would have broken down like a little boy and pleaded for her to stay. I’d fallen in love with her and watching her leave would have been nearly impossible. So I did the next most impossible thing and left without her knowing. It could have been considered cowardly, but I knew that if I had stayed in that room both of our lives would have been ruined in one way or another.
When I pulled up to The Dancin’ Cow I parked off to the side. I got out of my car and made my way up the walk toward the front door. I stood there staring at it for a good three minutes before I finally got up the nerve to ring the bell. I stood there with my hands behind my back while I waited.
The door opened and an African man was standing there.
“Hallå,” he said.
“Hi, is Sookie Stackhouse here?” I asked in English.
“She is. Can I tell her who’s here?”
“Tell her it’s the Swirish man she met in Ireland,” I replied.
Immediately he seemed to know what that meant.
“Oh you the baby daddy who got away. Bring yo’ beautiful buns in here,” he said. “The name’s Lafayette, but you can call me The Future.”
“The Future Mrs. Northman,” he winked, stepping back to let me in. “Have a seat in the parlor. I’ll go find Sookie.”
He was an interesting one. Sookie hadn’t mentioned him, which was surprising given how much personality he had. I was standing there with my hands behind my back looking around when I heard her footsteps. I wasn’t expecting that sound to make my heart skip a beat. It had been five years since I saw her last and she still made my stomach feel like it was filled with butterflies.
I couldn’t turn around. I was frozen in my spot.
“Holy… It’s really you,” she said in disbelief.
I turned around slowly to look at her. She looked just as beautiful as the first time I saw her.
“There’s my pretty American girl,” I said softly. I couldn’t seem to find my voice. I didn’t realize just how much I missed her until she was standing right in front of me. Five years was a long time.
“How did you… Why are you here?” Sookie seemed a bit dazed by my presence.
“I could ask you the same thing.” She was in my home town after all. “I’m here to see the pretty American girl that got away.”
“I’m sorry, I’m just surprised. You didn’t seem to be interested in ever living here again so…” Sookie stepped a little closer but then stopped herself. “I guess if you’re living here again you don’t need a room.”
I just need you…
“No, I’m here to see you,” I confirmed.
“That’s good. Our rooms are all booked up so Lafayette would probably try to get you to bunk with him,” she smiled. “Would you like a tour or something to drink?”
“Aye, a tour would be nice,” I smiled back. My eyes traveled up and down her body. “You look really, really good, Sookie.”
“Awww thanks,” she said. “So do you. It’s not quite as wonderful here as your mom’s house, but I looked for something similar. It seems to have been a good gamble.”
“I’m actually livin’ with my mother again,” I informed her. “She had a stroke last year and I’ve been helpin’ take care of her. How long has this place been up and runnin’?” It couldn’t have been that long.
Sookie stopped walking. “I’m so sorry about Elin. How is she doing? I’ve thought about going to see her but I wasn’t sure if you would be okay with that.”
“She’s good. She a little weak on her right side but other than that she’s great. She’d love to see you.”
“I would love to see her,” she told me. “To answer your other question, we’ve been open about three months. I moved here just under a year ago. Gran passed two hours after I got home. I finished school and decided Louisiana wasn’t home to me anymore. Out of all the places I’ve been, this was the place I couldn’t stop thinking about.”
“It is lovely,” I agreed with a small smile. “I’m sorry to hear about your Gran. I… I didn’t want to leave the way I did. It was for the best… or so I thought at the time.”
“It probably was. I wasn’t at a point in my life where I could stay. There was too much up in the air for me. It took time to figure out my path in life. I never would have guessed it would bring me back here. I’m happy it did,” she concluded in perfect Swedish.
“Well done,” I chuckled. “I knew if I didn’t walk out of that hotel room I would have followed you home,” I admitted. “Work… It wasn’t somethin’ that was possible with work. Is there somewhere we can talk privately?”
“Of course. I have my own little cabin here.” Sookie reached out for my hand to lead me out. The kitchen was big and airy like Mor’s. She had similar shelving instead of cupboards and cabinets. She led me outside and to the east a little bit to a smaller version of the big house. The outside of her cabin was a nice shade of yellow and the trim was the same shade of blue as her eyes.
“This is beautiful, Sookie. I like the name too,” I chuckled. She still had my hand in hers. I liked the way it felt. “Other than movin’ to Sweden, and learnin’ the language what have you been up to?” I wasn’t sure how to tell her about my previous job.
“That’s not enough?” she laughed.
Sookie opened the door to her little cottage. It was a studio space with a small kitchen area with a dining table for two. She had a couch and bookcase, and finally a sleeping area up in the loft. The furniture looked old but sturdy. Pictures of her and her family adorned the walls. A picture I had taken in Amsterdam was framed and hanging by the couch.
I smiled at that too. I hoped that she’d been thinking about me as much as I had been thinking about her. With her moving to Sweden and opening a B&B made me think she was.
“So… there’s things I want to tell you,” I started. “It’s been buggin’ me for five years now. I wasn’t completely honest with you when I met you.” Her face fell, making me quickly start again. “I was honest about the things I said about myself. The Eric on the trip with you was the real me. What I wasn’t honest about was my job. I still worked for the police force. If I wasn’t I would have followed you back to the US.” I’d actually picked up where I left off when I moved home working for the police as a detective. No more chasing international crime bosses.
“So the bar wasn’t really yours or it was a cover story or…” Sookie opened the small freezer and pulled out a bottle of good vodka.
“It was in my name,” I nodded. “I was workin’ undercover. When I met you in London I wasn’t there to meet a partner in the bar. If everything wasn’t confidential I would have told you. That’s why I had the locked suitcase and disappeared at all hours of the night. I kept a gun, handcuffs and a badge in my suitcase. It was easier to answer questions about it being locked than explainin’ a gun.”
“I… I wondered sometimes why you were so secretive. My brother thought it was because you really had a wife and kids you didn’t want me to find out about,” she told me as poured each of us a drink. Sookie handed me a glass and then went over to the table to sit. “So I became part of your sto– You left because of a fight. Did that really happen?”
“Aye, it was a colleague that was coverin’ for me. She got the beatin’ that was meant for me,” I sighed. I took a drink of the vodka. “You were unexpected. I got a ration of shit for bein’ with the little ‘Lolita’ every time I talked to Pam. Molly, the girl on the train, she was checkin’ up on me for my handler.”
“Wow.” Sookie took a drink too. “Are you still working?”
“Not for them, no. I’m actually back at the police force here in Sweden. I left after we caught Victor Madden.” The look on her face told me she knew who I was talking about.
“You caught that human horse apple?”
I chuckled at that. “I did. I spent close to eight years dealin’ with his shit. I met you in the middle of it all.”
“Do you miss it? I mean chasing down international scumbags.”
“Not for a second,” I replied truthfully. “The only thing I’ve missed in the last five years is you…” Again, I was being truthful.
“You’re still good with the lines,” she smiled.
“They still aren’t lines,” I winked. “I was as truthful and honest with you as I could be since I had to lie about my job. The way I felt, and the flirtin’ that was all truth.”
“I know your feelings were real. I understand why you couldn’t tell me the truth,” she said. “I don’t know if I would have felt safe if I had known the truth. I probably would have gotten paranoid and thought we were being followed or something.”
“Honestly? We were followed quite a bit,” I confessed. “I’m glad they did good and stayed hidden enough… well, except for fuckin’ Molly. She’s a nosey little twat.” I was never a fan of Molly. “But the people that followed us were more for protection than anything. You were always safe.”
“That’s good to know.” She seemed a little relieved.
“The million dollar question; are you seein’ anyone?” I took a sip of my vodka. I didn’t want to get too into my past. Not yet anyway.
“I am,” she said almost hesitantly. “He’s sweet, supportive and maybe the best cuddler I’ve ever had.”
“Really?” That was… that sucked for me. It wasn’t like she was supposed to wait around for me to get my head out of my ass. “That’s… congrats.” I was sure she could tell I wasn’t exactly happy about that news.
“Thanks. Magnus is still pretty new in my life but I fell fast for him,” she told me.
“He’s a lucky fella.” I finished my glass of vodka in one go.
“I think I’m the lucky one. It was fast, but we’re actually living together.”
“How long… I mean… I’m happy for you,” I told her. She could tell I was lying. I didn’t like how pleased she looked about it.
“Thanks. You want to meet him? Give him the once over, maybe run a security check…” She had a cute little smirk on her face.
“No, I’m not sure my old heart can handle it,” I admitted.
“You’re not that old.” Sookie finished her drink as well. “I’m guessing by your reaction you were hoping we could start over; maybe see if the old spark is still there?”
“Aye, somethin’ like that,” I nodded. “I’ve thought of you every day for the last five years.”
“Wow.” She looked surprised by that. “I don’t really know what I think about that.” There was a scratching noise coming from over by the door. Sookie walked over to check it out. When she opened the door a big, fluffy dog pranced inside. “There you are, Magnus. I was wondering where you ran off to. Go meet Eric.”
Magn… oooooh… that was Magnus…
“Hey, boy,” I said when he ran up to me. I held out my hand to allow him to get a sniff. As soon as I seemed acceptable he let me pet him. “He’s gorgeous, Sookie.” Magnus decided he wanted more attention and jumped up onto my lap. He was a little too big to be a lap dog, but I had a lot of lap.
“He’s a big lover,” she giggled. “Guests love him. He’s hard not to love.”
“I can tell.” He rubbed his head on my cheek. I guess I had his seal of approval. I flipped him back so I was holding him like a baby and rubbed his chest and belly. “Does this mean you really are single and willin’ to talk about givin’ us a real go?”
“I am single,” Sookie confirmed. “And I don’t think Magnus would forgive me if I didn’t give you a chance.”
“I was serious when I told you I’ve thought about you every day,” I said again. “After I left that hotel room in Oslo I spent two weeks mopin’ at Mor’s. She told me five times a day to go hunt you down in America. I couldn’t bring you into that world.”
“You did the right thing,” she assured me. “I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. What we had going was great but if I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t ready for it. I still had so much to figure out in my life and I needed to get comfortable with being in my own skin. I’m sure now. I know where I belong and what I want in life. How lucky that the missing piece just strolled through my door.”
I smiled at that as I rubbed up Magnus’ neck. “I fell in love with you then, you know that?” I wasn’t sure if I was still in love with her but it was only going to be a matter of time.
“So did I,” she admitted.
“Magnus, buddy, you’re going to have to get down now.” He let out a little ‘hmpf’ as I moved him onto the floor. I reached out to take Sookie’s hand so I could pull her closer to me. As soon as she was standing between my thighs I reached up to gently cup the back of her head and pull her down for a sweet kiss.
She moaned softly and her hand cupped my face. Her lips parted for me to give me entrance if I wanted it. I did want it and I took advantage of it. When our tongues met the spark was still there. It was like we hadn’t missed a moment together.
I pulled Sookie down, helping her straddle my lap. I got a little bolder as the kiss deepened, slipping my hands back to grab her ass. It was a little fuller than it was five years prior, but just as amazing.
“You’re an even better kisser now than you were five years ago,” she said when the kiss broke.
“You are too.” I pressed another soft kiss to her cheek. “I’ve been waitin’ to do that since Oslo.”
“So maybe this time we’ll go on a real date,” she smiled.
“If I recall correctly we had a date to meet in Amsterdam.” I gently massaged her lower back. “Until then, I could take you sailin’.”
“We do?” She didn’t remember.
“Mmhmm. We’re about five years too early for it,” I chuckled.
“I must have smoked too much weed because I don’t remember,” she admitted. “But I haven’t gotten high since. I would, though. I deserve it after how crazy the last year has been.”
I laughed and said, “Maybe when you can take some time off and you and I can go back to Amsterdam. Who knows? My brunette angel might still be there.”
“I hope not,” she laughed. “I’m hoping by the time that five years goes by I’ll be a mor myself.”
“Say when and I’ll be happy to donate,” I grinned. I was getting older. If I didn’t have them soon I wouldn’t want to have them.
“Somewhere nearby Elin just started baking cookies and knitting booties.”
“Sounds about right,” I chuckled. “She’s going to be happy you’re here and that we’ve reunited.”
“I’m sure she will be. She’s still hungry for grandbabies?”
“Oh, she’s been trying to set me up on dates since I moved home. Karin has a son now so Mor has somethin’ to occupy her time. She wants me to be… fulfilled is the best word I can think of. She thinks I’m sad.”
“Are you?” Sookie rubbed the back of my neck.
“Sad? I don’t think I’m sad, no,” I shook my head. “I have felt like something was missin’ over the last few years. Right now, with you on my lap, that emptiness is gone.” I didn’t realize it until I saw her pretty face again.
“Good answer.” She leaned in and kissed me again.
I kissed her back. My hands roamed around her back since her hair was up. I wanted it down so I could run my fingers through her silky locks. This time when we kissed I started to feel that familiar stirring in my jeans. I’d dated a couple girls since Sookie and I parted ways but nothing ever felt as good and right as being with her.
“Should we take this to you bedroom?” I asked when the kiss broke. My lips skimmed over her jaw as I started to work on taking her hair down.
“I’m not sure you’ll fit up there. I know you won’t be able to stand up straight,” she warned me.
“I don’t plan on standin’,” I pointed out.
“I’m sure you don’t. Now’s not really a good time. We start dinner prep soon,” she told me.
“My timin’ is alway off with you,” I chuckled.
“It’ll get better.”
“Everything will get better now that I have you.” I stopped taking the pins out of her hair so it didn’t fall.
“There you go with the lines again,” she teased.
“Not lines, truths,” I reminded her.
“Same difference with you.”
I kissed her again, though not as deep. Just a gentle peck as I wrapped her in a tight hug. We had time to get reacquainted. Hell, we had forever. I knew when she walked into my pub in Dublin that she was something special. I was sure her moving to Sweden was a risk on her part, but it seemed like it was a risk was paying off. From what I’d heard about the B&B before I showed up it was doing well. Sookie looked happy, and I was happy having her back.
Life felt good and right. They said home is where the heart is. With Sookie I was home.