Chapter 14: I’ll Stand By You
I didn’t realize how much paperwork there was to do after a person dies. I feel like all I’ve done in the last two weeks is sign papers and go to meetings. If I’m not seeing my lawyer I’m meeting with the acting COO at the office. Until such a time, I’m the silent boss. Stan Davis is running the company in Bill’s stead. Someday Tommy will be stepping into his father’s place but until then Stan is going to keep his eyes on things.
The papers have been filed for the life insurance and I opt to portion out an allowance, of sorts, for each of the kids after they turn twenty-five. I also look into buying the property that belonged to Sookie’s family. It’s hard to move around a half a million dollars without anyone noticing. The house itself isn’t worth anything but the land is another story. It’s a fifteen acre plot. The parish wants fifty thousand for the land, but it’ll cost at least three times that to build a new house.
All the same, I have my account cut a check for fifty grand. I’m on my way home from the parish office when I call Sookie to give her the news.
“Hello?” she answers in a sleepy voice.
“Sookie? It’s Caroline. Did I wake you?” It’s two in the afternoon. I didn’t think I’d wake her.
“It’s okay. I need to get up anyway,” she says. “How are you?”
“I think I may have carpal tunnel now from all the papers I’ve signed, but otherwise I’m fine. I’m calling because I made an executive decision today and I want to run an idea by you.”
She yawns before saying, “Sure, what’s the idea?”
“Well, Bill’s not here anymore to stop me from turning your family’s property into a rental property,” I say. “So I bought it.”
I’m greeted with silence.
“You have a lot of money coming your way but there’s no easy way to explain large increments of cash coming in that don’t include law enforcement thinking you’re a drug dealer. So I was thinking I’d tear down the old house and rebuild a new one customized to your specifications. You could live there rent free, obviously, but everyone else could think you’re just a tenant. We can quietly transfer the deed to you for the bargain price of a dollar once the work is complete,” I explain.
“Caroline, I…” She trails off, clearly in shock. “You bought my house,” she whispers as the news sinks in.
“If you’re not interested in it, that’s okay–”
“No! It’s not that. It’s just surprising is all. I really don’t know what to say. I’ll have to talk to Eric, of course. I moved in with him a couple days ago which is why you caught me sleeping in the middle of the day.”
“Must have been some move,” I chuckle. After seeing Eric for myself, I don’t know what she was doing with Bill.
“He’s something else to do anything with,” she giggles. “I really don’t know how to thank you, even if we don’t move in.”
“Well talk it over with Eric and let me know if you want the property. I’m still willing to sell it to you for a dollar as-is.”
“I’ll talk to him as soon as he gets home,” she promises. “Can I ask you a non-property related question?”
“How do I make meatloaf? The baby is craving it and I want to try to make dinner for Eric.”
That’s out of left field but I give Sookie instructions for how I make my meatloaf. Judging by her questions she hasn’t done much cooking, but I hope she takes good notes while I talk.
“Thank you. As you probably guessed, I didn’t have anyone to teach me to cook.”
“I suppose you wouldn’t. It’s not that hard but it takes practice,” I say.
“I’m pretty good at taking direction,” she says. “This looks a lot easier than I expected. Eric is trying to teach me too. Right now I just want pickles and peanut butter all the time.”
“That’s nothing. When I was pregnant with Lee I went through a lox and cream cheese on blueberry bagels phase, quickly followed by omelets stuffed with tuna and hot peppers. I hate fish. Haven’t touched it since Lee was born.”
“I hate guacamole and I ate about two cups of it the other night on top of my chicken and then I finished the meal with a bowl of ice cream topped with jalapeño jelly.”
“Wow. Did Eric keep his dinner down?” Bill threw up the first time I ate one of those bagels.
“He saw what I was getting out of the cupboard and left the room before I could put it together,” she giggles. “He thinks it’s funny watching me eat.”
It’s strange to be friendly with my husband’s hitman. Even if she wasn’t there when he died, she’s the one who gave him the pill. I’m curious about why she left. She claimed it was cramps, which is possible, but I wonder if she just didn’t want to be there.
“Well, before you know it they’ll be all grown up and packing for their induction day,” I sigh. Lee leaves July 17th for San Antonio. It’s too soon.
“I’m taking baby steps. I’m just excited to feel my little jellybean move,” she says sweetly.
“Already? It goes by so fast until the last four weeks, and then it drags on for eons,” I tell her.
“Not just yet, I’m getting big though, for me anyway. I feel little bubbles but it might be gas,” she chuckles.
“No, that’s the baby. You’ll feel the flutters for a while and then one day whammo,” I chuckle. “Sarah stopped kicking every time Bill tried to feel it. He was so pissed.”
“The bubbles go more when Eric is talking to my belly. I don’t even know if it has ears but it likes the rumble of Eric’s voice.”
“That’s good,” I smile. “I hope it all works out for you.”
“Thank you, that means a lot to me.”
“You’re welcome. I’ll let you go so you can start supper. Looks like my son’s home anyway,” I say as I pull up to the house.
“Okay. I’ll call you once I talk to Eric,” she says. “Have a good afternoon.”
“You too.” I hang up and park next to Lee’s truck.
I walk into the house and find my son sitting at the island in the kitchen looking a little green around the gills.
“You okay?” I ask him.
“I’m not feeling so hot,” he says. “I think Amanda is sick and she’s passed it to me.”
My eyes narrow. He’s had Amanda over for dinner since Bill’s funeral. She seems like a nice girl but I don’t think it’s as serious between them as either one wants me to think.
“Does she have the flu?” I hope she’s not knocked up. That would be a big problem for his air force plans if she is.
“No, a cold or something. I just feel like sleeping, but it’s too early for bed. My stomach feels off too.”
“Want some tea?” I move to the stove to get the kettle.
“Maybe,” he nods and sets his head on the counter. “Would soup or tea be better?”
“How about some tea first? Have you been keeping food down?” I add fresh water to the kettle and put it back on the stove to heat.
“I don’t know. I haven’t eaten today,” he groans. “I haven’t had an appetite.”
I gently lift his head. By touch I’m sure he’s got a low grade fever.
“Go on up to bed and I’ll bring you some tea and toast,” I tell him.
“Okay.” Lee slowly gets up from the stool and trudges toward his room.
Poor kid. When he was little he refused to sleep when he was sick unless it was on me. He didn’t want daddy, his sissy or his brudder to come anywhere near him. He wanted exclusive mommy rights until he was all better. I sincerely hope he doesn’t expect me to be his mattress now.
While the water heats I get the toast going and get a tray from the pantry. When I get upstairs with the toast and tea, Lee’s curled up in bed under his covers with the curtains closed. I set the mug and the toast on the bedside table.
“Tea’s ready. I brought honey.”
He hums, lying there a moment before he moves to sit up so he can get his tea.
“Thanks, Mommy,” he says quietly.
“Enjoy the babying. You only get it for two more months,” I remind him.
“I know. Right now I want to stay,” he sighs.
“Scoot over.” I sit on the edge of his bed and reach out to rub his head like I used to when he was a little boy. “I’m going to miss you, my boy, but I’m proud of you.”
“I know,” he says with a weak smile.
“I was thinking that maybe after Tommy finishes school that we could go on one of those family trips we used to take. Only I won’t stuff the three of you in the back of a station wagon,” I chuckle.
“That would be good if Tommy pulls his head out of his ass.”
“I wouldn’t count on it,” I sigh.
“It’s worth a shot.”
“I think Tommy is Tommy and there’s nothing to be done about it. He’s always been difficult.”
“He’s a dick. I wish he could be more like you and less like Dad,” he sighs.
“It’s not his style, unfortunately,” I smile a little. “He’s not all bad, Lee.”
“Okay,” he says sarcastically. “He’s always been a jerk to me. I used to think he hated that I was born, then I realized he’s not just like that to me.”
“Oh he’s not easy to be around, but he has his good points.”
“I’m still not convinced,” he smiles. “I know. I just don’t think we’re meant to be friends.”
“That’s okay. I’m not going to try to force the issue. You’re capable of deciding for yourself. You get some sleep and I’ll see about making some chicken noodle soup with extra noodles and carrots for you,” I wink.
“You’re the best,” he says sincerely as he snuggles into his bed again.
“I love you too,” I reply. I leave the tea and toast on him bed but pull his covers up for him before I leave the room to let my son rest.
When Eric gets home I’m walking out of the hallway in a blue maxi dress with no shoes or bra. These days I’m all about comfort. The exciting thing is the meatloaf I pulled out of the oven a few minutes ago and the mashed potatoes and green beans on the stove.
“Hey, babe,” I smile when I see him. I’m excited to talk to him about the property. With or without the money, buying the property for me is just about the kindest thing anyone has ever done for me.
“Hello.” He pauses to give me a lingering peck. “Caveman smell meat.”
“The practicing housewife made you meatloaf and mashed potatoes,” I tell him as I wrap my arm around his neck.
He gives me a very Tim Taylor like grunt of approval. “Well it smells like a successful practice. How’s the nugget?”
“Bubbling away.” I press his hand to my belly. “The flutters get more intense when you start talking to me. It knows Daddy’s home.”
“I wish I could feel it,” he frowns.
“Soon,” I promise. “How was work?” I let him go to lead him to the kitchen so I can start dishing up his dinner. I’ve taste tested the meatloaf and it’s delicious.
“Good. I’ll be taking a trip to Shreveport next week if you want to come along. You could talk to that lady about your family,” he suggests.
“That’s a great idea. I uh… got a call from Caroline today,” I inform him. “She bought my family land from the county. She wants to know if we want her to build a house on it for us… and live in Bon Temps. I told her it would be up to you since you have to worry about work. She also wants to use the land as a ruse to funnel the money to me… and sell me the land back for a dollar.” I blurt it all out so Eric can think about it. I slide two slices of meatloaf on a plate as I talk.
“How do you feel about it? Do you think it’s a good idea to live next door to your coconspirator?” Eric peers into the pot of mashed potatoes.
“I’m not sure. I want to live in my family home, but it would be weird to go back to Bon Temps seeing as I barely remember it. If you don’t get out of that pot and sit your ass down, you’re not getting dinner,” I add as I smack his hand away.
“I didn’t touch anything,” he pouts. “If you want to live in Louisiana we might be able to work something out but it might mean you spend a lot of time there without me.”
I don’t like that at all.
“Have a seat,” I say as I pile the potatoes on the plate before moving to the green beans. “I don’t like the idea of seeing less of you.” I set the plate down in front of him with a fork and turn to get him a glass of milk.
“I don’t either, but I can understand why you would want to be there,” he says. “Unfortunately we operate out of one office here in town. I might be able to swing working remotely when I’m not traveling, but I don’t know how cool Godfrey would be with that.”
“Look into it?” Eric nods as he takes a big bite of potatoes. “We have time. She just signed the paperwork on it today. She also said it’s mine for a dollar even if we don’t move.”
“That’s nice of her. Not a bad way to settle part of the tab. She’s a smart one.”
“Yeah. We need to discuss it more, but she is. How’s dinner?”
I get more approving grunts since Eric’s mouth is full of food.
I stand behind him and start to rub his shoulders as he eats. I’ve always been able to take care of a man sexually, but the cooking and pampering is new to me. I’ve only been here a few days but I have my things unpacked already, which I know he appreciates. I like it though. I’ve lived with people in the past and whereas not all of my boyfriends have been abusive, there was definitely a trend of using me for one thing or another.
“Will do me a favor?” I ask as I lean down to kiss the shell of his ear.
“Be honest with me and tell me if I’m doing too much or doing something you don’t like. I’m new to catering to my man the way I’m learning I like to do for you. If it starts to bug you I want to know.”
“You don’t need to cater to me, Sookie. I didn’t ask you to move in so you would be my maid,” he says.
“I know,” I smile as I wrap my arms around his shoulders from behind. “I like it. It makes me happy to see you satisfied.”
“I only need you for that. Although this is a nice bonus. Why don’t you get the blackberry preserves to smear on yours and join me?”
“Hmm, it’s an A-1 night,” I giggle. I kiss his cheek and move to get my plate together. When I have everything on the plate I drizzle A-1 over everything on it before I go to take my seat. Eric has a beautiful house. I never in a million years would’ve imagined living in a house this big and gorgeous.
“You’re not going to put A-1 in a milkshake, are you?” He’s serious.
“No,” I laugh. “And leave my weird cravings alone. I’m blaming your DNA for the weird food thing. I don’t even like guacamole yet I can’t get enough of it. That has to come from you.”
“I don’t think I have the power to affect your taste buds,” he chuckles.
“Oh, I’m sure you do,” I say, shaking my head. “I do have snickerdoodle ice cream sandwiches for dessert.” He’s going to get so fat if he keeps eating with me.
“I have something else in mind for dessert,” he smirks.
“Mmm, what might that be?” I ask as I take a bite of my green beans.
“Oh you’ll find out.”
“Makes me want to eat faster so I can find out sooner,” I giggle. “I’m no good at waiting for surprises.”
“Well I’m not done eating yet, so slow down Flo Jo.”
I eat slower than Eric anyway. I can also take a guess at what he has planned but I could be completely wrong. He’s surprised me before.
We finish dinner a few minutes later. I’m up at the sink washing dishes when Eric slips his plate into the water.
“Do I have to wait till I’m done with dishes to find out what dessert is?” I ask as I bend to put some silverware in the dishwasher.
“Are you going to tell me what it is?”
“You’re not going to guess?” Eric takes my hand and leads me out of the kitchen toward the stairs.
“Hmm, brownies?” I ask as I start to follow him upstairs.
“Is it food?”
“What else would dessert be?”
“You’re sweet enough to offer me your dick,” I snort. “Is it… Twinkies?”
“Ewww no.” Eric leads me to the bedroom and has me sit on the bed.
“It’s a strip tease, isn’t it?” I joke as I take a seat at the foot of the bed.
“You wish,” he smirks. Eric goes to his nightstand and gets something from it. He hands me a little maroon velvet box.
Before I open it I ask, “What’s this?” I lift the lid and stare. It’s a gorgeous, looks like white gold, ring. It has a small group of garnets in the shape of a flower along with another smaller flower next to it made of the same white gold as the band. It’s the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen in my life.
“Garnets are January’s birthstone,” he says.
“Which will be our little jellybean’s birthstone,” I whisper as I pull the ring from the box to inspect it. I don’t notice I’m crying until I feel the tears hit my chest.
“I hope the tears mean you like it,” Eric says nervously.
“The tears mean I love it, Eric,” I reply with a huge grin as I look up at him. “This is the prettiest ring I’ve ever seen.”
“I’m glad you love it,” he smiles back. “Does it fit?”
“Depends on which finger I’m supposed to wear it on,” I wink and slip it onto my ring finger on my right hand.
“Which finger do you want to wear it on?”
“Would it be too forward if I said I want to wear it here?” I move it to my left hand, where it fits my ring finger perfectly. I don’t think this is supposed to be a proposal, but it does look best there.
“Well you are practicing to be a housewife. You might as well accessorize accordingly.”
“Very true,” I agree. “Will you come down here and kiss me?”
“Mmm… It’s an awfully long trip,” he smiles.
“I would come up there but I’d need to go down to get my step stool.”
“No you don’t.” Eric lifts me under my arms like I’m a four-year-old and lays one on me.
I wrap my arms around his neck as I kiss him back. This feels like one of those five kisses talked about in The Princess Bride. It’s perfect. His lips are soft and firm at the same time while his tongue slips into my mouth to dance with mine. Eric reaches down to lift my skirt some so I can wrap my legs around his waist.
When I pull back I rest my forehead on his chin. “I love you, Eric,” I whisper.
“I love you too, Sookie,” he replies and kisses my forehead.
“Is it wrong that I want to stay right here clinging to you for the rest of the night?”
“Not at all.”
“You’re welcome to sit down,” I offer. “I’m sure I’ll get heavy in a moment.”
“Maybe. We can look through the name book. Maybe the jellybean will pick her name for us.”
“Hmm, maybe. I think she’s taking a nap at the moment. Should we wake her up?”
“How would we–” Eric stops and grins before he starts loudly singing, “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman–”
My hand clamps over his mouth as I start laughing.
“Not what I had in mind,” I laugh as I drop my legs.
Eric shrugs and as soon as I remove my hand he starts singing another song.
“Keep it up and I’m going to move to the guest room ’til you learn how to behave,” I yell over his horrible singing.
“So I guess that means we won’t be naming the baby Britney.”
“I would divorce you before agreeing to name the baby Britney.”
“Well we’re not married yet, toots.” Eric sets me on the bed. He kicks off his shoes and tugs his shirt out of his pants.
“And we won’t be getting married if you keep up that Britney Spears shit,” I chuckle. “I’ll be a single parent and you’ll get visitation every other weekend.”
“You love my singing,” he scoffs.
I’ll never admit to it, but it’s adorable when he sings.
“Nope. It’s the one thing that makes me insane,” I giggle. I stand up on the bed and drop my dress, leaving me in a tiny pair of panties. I don’t know if he’s just getting out of his work clothes, but I know my naked body distracts him.
I end up wrapped in his arms with him swaying me slowly from side to side. His kisses my neck in feathery, light movements and starts to sing again, but more quietly and not Britney Spears lyrics.
“Together can never be close enough for me to feel like I am close enough to you. You wear white and I’ll wear out the words “I love you” and you’re beautiful. Now that the wait is over and love has finally shown her my way. Marry me today and every day. Marry me…”
I pull back so I can look into his eyes. “Yes,” I whisper without a second thought. The love I have for Eric is new to me, but I know without a doubt he’s my forever. I think I’ve known that since his ridiculous pickup line that he didn’t think would work. I was just too scared to admit it.
“Of all the crazy things I’ve done, this is the smartest,” he whispers back.
“Ditto,” I smile. I move my hands to cup his cheeks and pull his face to mine. I press my lips to his for a long, hard lingering peck. “You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” I know it sounds cliché but it’s the absolute truth.
“Ditto,” he smiles.
“Does this means there’s no brownies?” I ask as a cheesy grin spreads across my face.
“No brownies. I’ll happily go get you some,” he offers.
“Mmm, no, you already have me naked. I’m sure you can come up with something much more appetizing.”
“Maybe. Maybe Jellybean wants me to sing to her,” he grins.
“Jellybean can wait until she’s squirming around in your arms to listen to you sing,” I giggle.
“Are you sure? Because I can think of plenty of baby related songs–”
“I’m positive,” I laugh, cutting him off. I let go of his neck long enough to push my panties to the floor. I turn and crawl onto the bed, giving him his favorite view of my ass. “Still up for singing?” I ask. If he is, I’m doing something wrong.
“Only your praises, Lover,” he purrs.
“What are you praising me for?” I start to wiggle my ass a little and spread my knees apart so he can get a better view of everything.
“Everything,” Eric replies. He reaches out to hold my ass steady and then I feel his tongue licking me from my clit all the way to my back entrance.
“Mmm, that’s perfect, Eric,” I moan. I drop to my elbows and add, “Everything about you is perfect to me.”
“I know.” I can feel him smirk against my thigh.
“Cocky,” I groan when I feel his thumb on my clit.
“Indeed,” he agrees and I hear the zipper on his pants going down.
I look over my shoulder to see him pull his cock out and start to stroke. I lick my lips. I can already feel my juices starting to drip as he sits up to rub his head through my folds.
“Mmm, that’s nice,” I purr. “Almost as good as brownies.”
“This is less calories,” he smirks again and just his tip rests inside me.
“Uh huh,” I breathe. “Can I be greedy with you like I am with the brownies?” I ask, trying to push back but he holds my hips still.
“If you ask really nicely I’ll consider it.” Eric pushes in an inch and then pulls back.
“Please, baby, may I have all of your huge, perfect cock?” I plead.
He gives it to me nice and slow so I feel every thick inch of him stretching me. Eric leans over me as he pulls out just as slowly. He turns my head so his lips can find mine as he keeps up that slow and deep pace. His tongue dances with mine and somehow we end up on our sides. Eric holds my leg up just right as he moves in and out of me. His eyes meet mine when the kiss breaks and they have that intense look in them that makes my ovaries tingle and my heart pound.
No one has ever made me feel the things Eric does. I reach up to pull his face to mine, resting my forehead on his. I can feel his heavy breaths fanning over my face as my walls start to grip him harder. I would normally be more vocal with him, but when my orgasm hits I let out a silent scream. I feel like my heart stops for a moment. I can’t breathe or move as a powerful ripple of pleasure rolls through my body.
“Oh god,” I whimper when I can suck in enough air to get the words out.
Eric keeps his eyes on my face as his hips speed up. He holds onto our little jellybean, gripping at my skin as his own release spills into me. Eric’s eyes close as he leans in to give me soft feathery kisses. Today has been one great surprise after another. I don’t know what the word is for what I’m feeling, but it’s definitely more intense than anything I’ve ever felt in my life.