Chapter 3: Something to Talk About
One of the many bonuses to having a lying son of a bitch for a husband is that he “works” late hours in an office almost forty-five minutes away. Bill is out the door at just after five most mornings so he can get in a workout at the gym in the building he works in. He’s in his office no later than 7:30 and he usually doesn’t get home until close to eight or nine now that the kids are all grown up. Truthfully, we live separate lives in most ways. We have for a long time.
That’s why I’m in his office, looking over our life insurance policies and our wills. Bill’s business has grown in unexpected ways. When he first started out it was just with a client or two and a pair of beat up Apple computers. Technology has come a long way in the last twenty-five years and Bill has stayed on the cutting edge of it. He’s got contracts with the government, for fuck’s sake. There are few out there who are better at what Bill does than he is.
According to the paperwork I can find, the company is worth $17,000,000. The life insurance policies, all tallied up, totals another two million. Our wills stipulate that our assets will be split evenly amongst our children once we’re both deceased. As it stands now, if Bill dies I assume control of everything. The house, the money, the business… it’s all mine. I know Bill plans to bring Tommy on board after he graduates, so I would happily let him take over when he’s ready.
Rationally, I know that murdering my husband isn’t the sane option here. Divorce should be adequate but it’s not. I want Bill out of my life for good. I don’t want him popping up and starting trouble or showing up at my daughter’s wedding with some silly, teenage whore on his arm.
The key is to make sure that nothing is out of place. I have to keep the same schedule and attitude I always do. I’ve learned a few things about burying my emotions. It’s one of the unexpected perks of living with a compulsive liar and manipulator. I’m sure there will be questions after he’s gone, but I’ve forgiven Bill in the past. We worked it out. If it comes out that he’s been seeing someone it’s easy to fake surprise and insist that I’d go to counseling again.
After all, not even my own children can say I haven’t been patient or forgiving of my husband’s shortcomings.
It’s a little worrisome how easy this is for me. Shouldn’t I be struggling here? Of course calling Sookie may have been a big mistake. I know nothing about her and I’m planning to pitch a hit to her. I even know how he should go out, but she’s the one that has to pull the trigger, so to speak, and it all centers on what she knows about his health. If a trail somehow leads to her and she ends up taking a lie detector test I don’t want her to lie about not knowing he had a heart condition if she does know.
Then again, Sookie might be an even better liar than Bill. I suppose I’ll find out.
I take photos of statements to show Sookie. I want her to know that I’m serious about the money. Obviously I wouldn’t be able to cut her a check for a quarter of a million dollars without raising eyebrows. It would raise flags all over the goddamn place if I did that. But small denomination drops over time wouldn’t be too suspicious.
Once I have what I need I put the folders back in their drawer. I’m about to leave the office when I remember the safe built into the wall under the stairs. I head that way and remove the shadow box that keeps it covered. Bill and I are the only ones with the code for the safe. Mostly I keep my really expensive jewelry and our most important papers in there.
Bill keeps cash.
I count the bundles of twenties and come up with almost sixty thousand dollars. I’m not sure why he’s got so much cash in the house but just to see if he’s keeping an eye on it, I take two of the bundles from the safe. If Sookie agrees to help me, I’ll consider it a down payment for services forthcoming. It’ll show good faith.
Wednesday morning I wake up and immediately run to the bathroom. I don’t know if I ate something bad or what, but I spend at least twenty minutes emptying my stomach. I feel a little better after I jump in the shower. It’s way too early for me to be awake, but my stomach bug isn’t allowing me to relax enough to go back to sleep after my shower.
Instead I get up and go to the kitchen to look for something for breakfast. As I’m working on a pancake mix I start thinking about my meeting with Caroline tomorrow. I have a feeling she’s going to ask me to harm Bill in some way. I don’t know how comfortable I feel about that. Yes, he’s a lying scumbag, but it’s not my family he’s ruining. I’m still going to listen to her. I’ll answer any questions she has and possibly go on my way, depending on what she wants me to do. Bill did humiliate me too, but I can move on. He’s a no good piece of trash. I don’t love him. I don’t have anything tying me to him. Anything I do for Caroline will be for her benefit alone.
I still haven’t decided on what I’m going to do with Eric either. He made it perfectly clear he wants me to be his girlfriend. He also knows the last five guys I had relationships with fucked me over in some way. For twenty-six, I’ve been through a lot. A lot more than anyone should have to go through. Ever. If he wants me, he’s going to have to be patient.
I’m just about to pour my pancake mix into the pan when another bout of nausea hits. I drop the bowl and race to the bathroom again. Ugh. This is shit. I don’t think I ate anything bad last night… hmm.
As I’m getting up to wash my face and brush my teeth again I start to think about everything I’ve put into my body for the last forty-eight hours. I’m not counting Eric’s dick. Even though he was upset with me he still ended up fucking me in various places around my house. I didn’t eat much. I had breakfast, bacon and eggs. I had lunch which was a grilled ham and Swiss. Dinner was chicken soup because I wasn’t feeling so great before work.
The nausea isn’t flu like. The smell of the pan heating up for pancakes is what triggered this round. As a matter of fact, the last time I felt this kind of nausea I was… pregnant…
I was pregnant with this bag of dicks Hugo I dated when I was eighteen. He knocked me up, then knocked me around, causing a miscarriage. I left him right after that, and it was for the best. Mickey used to smack me around too, but Hugo was worse. Raising a baby in the same household as him would’ve been bad. Real bad.
Not that I’m ready to be pregnant, but I need to call Eric if I think I am. I’m learning to be a lot more open about things and even if I think I’m pregnant I should tell him. I know for a fact it’s not Bill’s if I am. He told me he had a vasectomy. I believe him only because I’ve seen the scar.
I should be more scared than I am now, but I don’t want to freak out until I know something. I go back to the kitchen and pick up my phone to text Eric. He’s the only man other than Bill I’ve been with in the last eight months. He usually pulls out, but we’ve had one or two slip ups when he started to cum in me.
Me: Are you busy?
I don’t want to call him in case he is.
Eric: Not at the moment.
Me: Can I call you?
Eric: Go for it.
I hit the little phone button by his name and wait. When I look down I see that the hand I have resting on the counter is shaking. I’m not scared of Eric; I’m scared of him telling me he doesn’t want anything to do with me anymore if I am. I’m scared of having this baby and struggling to raise it on my own.
“Let me guess, you didn’t get enough yesterday and you want to try fucking on the stairs?” he teases.
“Not quite,” I reply nervously.
“What’s wrong? Why do you sound like you’re going to puke?”
“Because I’m pretty sure I’m going to in about ten minutes. Eric… I think I might be…” I trail off, not really sure how to finish the admission.
“Might be what?” he asks nervously. “Are you sick? You seemed fine yesterday.”
“Pregnant,” I whisper. When I think about it I realize I haven’t had a period in over a month. It should’ve started two weeks ago and it didn’t even dawn on me that I missed it.
“I’m sorry I thought you said pregnant,” he laughs humorlessly.
“I did,” I sniffle when the fear starts to hit. “I haven’t taken a test yet, but I feel… yeah.”
He’s silent. I can hear him breathing, but he doesn’t say anything for well over a minute.
“And it’s… I mean you think I’m the…” he stammers.
“Bill had a vasectomy,” I whisper. “I still have to take a test, but I’ve had this… it’s happened before. Years and years ago.”
“Oh.” Of course he doesn’t know about that. “So if it’s positive I guess you won’t want to keep it.”
“The last one was a miscarriage, Eric.” I don’t know what to think until I take a test to confirm what I already know. “I could never… you know.”
“That’s surprising,” he mutters under his breath.
“You know what? Nevermind,” I sniffle. “Now I know what you really think of me.”
“No. I shouldn’t have called. Thanks for noth–” I get cut off when I throw up in my mouth a little. I pull the phone from my ear and turn to the sink to spit a couple times. I don’t know if Eric is still there when I’m done so I put the phone back to my ear. I know I have tears in my eyes. “Sorry,” I sniffle.
“You said once that you don’t want kids. That’s all I meant, Sookie,” he says. “Plus you mostly tolerate me, so I’m surprised you’re telling me.”
“I don’t just tolerate you. I like you, Eric. I don’t necessarily want kids but that’s mostly because I don’t think I’ll ever be able to afford them. I work as a go-go dancer for Christ sakes,” I sigh.
“You’d be surprised how many guys are into pregnant women.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” That’s a strange comment.
“It could be lucrative for you work wise,” he explains.
“So, I should be dressed in skimpy clothes and go-go boots while I’m blimping up?”
“I don’t know! I’m just trying to be positive here. Fuck,” he mutters.
“Sorry, it just came across weird. I need to go get a test. I’m scared to leave the house right now though.”
“Well I’m kind of stuck here, Sookie. I could bring you one but that’s a boyfriend thing and you’ve made it clear that’s not my role,” he says.
“I wasn’t asking you to go get it. I’ve just been throwing up so much it’s going to have to wait for this to pass.” I’m going to leave the boyfriend comment alone for now.
“Right. Well, I guess call me when you know something.”
“Eric,” I sigh. I hate the tone he’s using. “Can you come over after work? We can talk about the relationship thing tonight.”
“Yeah, sure.” He doesn’t sound hopeful.
“What do you want me to say?”
“I think you know.”
I don’t want to say it. Right now it would be just to make him feel better. Instead, I tell him, “Look, Eric, I’m not ready to put a label on what we gave going on. I don’t plan on adding new guys to the rotation. You’re the only one I’m with.”
“It’s fine,” he replies in that business tone I can’t stand. “I have a meeting to get to so just let me know what the test results are and we’ll go from there.”
“Alright,” I sigh before we hang up.
When I’m done I look around the kitchen and scrap the pancake mix. I’m not going to eat anything. Apparently I wouldn’t be keeping it down anyway.
Once I’m home from the store it’s right around the time Eric gets off. I go into the bathroom to take the test and patiently wait for the results. I don’t want to think about the answer. When I finally look it says pregnant. Oh boy.
I take a picture of the results and send them to Eric to wait for his reply.
Eric: I’ll support whatever you decide.
Me: Are you still coming by or no?
Eric: I think you said what you needed to say earlier.
Great. Just fantastic.
Me: Fine. I’ll see you when you’re ready.
Eric: Or the next time you’re horny.
Me: So you’re going to be mad at me because I said I’m not ready for a relationship? Would you rather I say yes and end up resenting you one day?
Eric: Don’t worry about it. We’ll be parents together if that’s what you want and I’ll keep seeing other people. You’re still a free agent.
Me: I’m sitting here freaking out about being pregnant and you’re worried about who you’re fucking? I knew that’s all I am to you. Thanks Eric.
I can’t believe this is happening via text message.
Eric: That’s not even close to what I said. Do not blame me for your shitty opinions of yourself.
Me: Well, I just don’t get what is fucking other people has to do with this. I’m not ready to put a label on what we have so I guess that means I’m going to run off and slut it up, huh?
Eric: I didn’t say anything about fucking other people. YOU made that leap all on your own. If you want to go out and “slut it up” that’s your business.
I don’t get him. He just said he’s going to keep seeing other people. I’ve met Eric. I know what that means.
Me: You want a relationship with me but you want to go out and see other people? I can see how that makes tons of sense. Instead of coming over to talk to me face to face you’re going to tell me in a text message… ugh. Nevermind Eric.
By now I’m so confused by him I don’t know what to say. I’m crying and stressed. Eric frustrates me.
Eric: I want you. The feeling isn’t mutual. I don’t see the point of talking about it any further. I’ll get over it and find someone else.
Me: But before I found out I was pregnant you were more than happy to stick around to fuck me?
It’s like a switch flipped.
Me: Will you please come over after work? I’m fucking confused right now.
Eric: I can’t make it any clearer than I just did. You want things to stay casual. Maybe if you weren’t pregnant I’d be okay with that. Things change. Casual isn’t enough but you don’t want more so I’m backing off. What’s confusing about it?
Me: I didn’t… nevermind Eric. I don’t know what I want to do okay? I’m not emotionally ready for a relationship. Can you please understand that?
I don’t get a response from him this time so I leave it alone. If he tries to force me into a relationship now it’ll just confuse everything and I probably will resent him later. I have a baby to worry about now, not my emotional woes with a pushy Eric Northman. He knew I wasn’t ready before and the pregnancy isn’t going to change that. If he was willing to wait before, all I can hope is that he’s willing to wait now.