The last month with Levi has been great. We talk a lot and don’t get to see each other too much. Two weeks after I met him I told Pam I wanted out. It was just time to move on. I still haven’t told Levi what I was doing for work when we met, but he hasn’t pushed for information like that. I like him a lot. He’s smart, funny, charming and the biggest flirt I’ve ever met.
We’ve been taking it slow, though. I haven’t heard anything from Eric, but that’s for the best. I think I’m finally really putting him behind me, which is good because I want to move forward with Levi. So, for my birthday, he invited me to Utah. He wants me to meet his dad, and I couldn’t say no.
So here I am sitting in the front seat of his newer model Challenger, nervous as hell about meeting his father. In the past I haven’t really been the kind of girl boys bring home to mama.
“What if he hates me?” I ask nervously, playing with the antique ring on my finger.
“Don’t be silly, he already loves you. My dad is a good guy, I don’t think he dislikes anyone,” Levi says, reaching over to place his hand on my thigh.
I take a deep breath and blow it out slowly.
“It’s just that I haven’t done the meeting the parents thing in a really long time and last time didn’t go very well and I don’t want to screw this up because I like you and I don’t want your dad to hate me–” I’m rambling.
“Sookie, calm down,” he soothes, rubbing his hand up and down my thigh. “You’ll do fine, I promise.”
“Okay.” I take another deep breath. “Utah is beautiful. I’ve never been here before.”
“I guess. It all looks the same and boring to me,” he shrugs. “We’re here.”
I try to get myself to calm down. Levi turns off the car and leans over to kiss me. That helps. If nothing else it takes my mind off of meeting his dad.
“Thank you,” I whisper when the kiss breaks.
“You look beautiful, you’re charming, and he’s going to adore you, pretty girl,” he says softly and gives me another peck on my lips before he exits the car and comes around to open my door.
I step out again and say, “Thanks.”
Levi closes and locks the doors. He takes my hand and leads me into the restaurant. It’s moderately busy and a hostess leads us back to where his dad is already waiting.
“Dad,” Levi calls.
I don’t know which guy is his dad until a very familiar voice says, “Dixie?”
My head snaps to the right and there he is. Eric.
Oh. My. God.
“Eric,” I breathe.
Oh this is not good.
“Dix– Sookie?” he questions this time, just as shocked as I am.
“Dad, you know– Aww fuck me,” Levi breathes.
“I… um…” I don’t know what to say. I feel like this is a conversation Eric and Levi need to have without me.
I had no idea that Levi is Eric’s son. Aside from their height and similar voices, they aren’t anything alike. Of course this would happen to me.
“This is awkward,” Eric murmurs without taking his eyes off of me. “Levi, meet Dixie.”
“This can’t be real,” Levi says quietly and looks between Eric and me.
“Now you know my name,” I say sheepishly.
“This is not how I wanted to find out though.”
“It was in that envelope I left for you that you wouldn’t take,” I say.
“I didn’t want the money back. I fucked up that weekend, not you–”
“Are you really talking about this?” Levi growls, cutting Eric off.
“I should go,” I say. “You two should talk and I should go back to the hotel.”
“Stay,” Eric says, “We still have shit to discuss.”
“I’m not going to stay here while you flirt with your hooker,” Levi snaps at Eric.
“Hey!” I get in Levi’s face. “You have a right to be upset, but you realize I’m standing right here, right?”
“You’re a hooker and you fucked my dad… a lot. I’m not going to apologize for speaking the truth. And you,” he turns to Eric, “You… fuck.”
“Levi, calm down,” Eric commands in his growly voice.
“Levi, I didn’t know you were his son. It’s a total coincidence that we met,” I tell him.
“Right, he probably put you up to it. Happy fucking birthday, here’s a whore that won’t even fuck you.”
“Levi!” Eric yells, startling the people around us, and me.
“I’m going now. Levi, it’s been nice knowing you,” I say, and turn around to walk out. This is unbelievable.
“Dix– Sookie, don’t go,” Eric pleads.
“You need to talk to your son, Eric,” I say without turning around again. “Levi, if you want to talk, you know where to find me.”
With that, I walk out. They need to talk things over and I don’t need to be there for it. I call a cab to come get me since I don’t know where I’m going. As far as I can tell, there’s only one hotel in town, so Eric won’t have much trouble tracking me down either.
When I get back to my room, I kick off my heels and sit on the edge of the bed. I’m still stunned. If I had known Levi is Eric’s son I never would have gotten involved with him. I’m sure this is the end of us, so I start packing. There isn’t much point in sticking around. The plan was to stay for the next three days, but I might as well change my flight to the next one out.
I’m looking up the airline customer service number when there’s a knock on my door. I drop my phone, figuring it’s Levi coming to officially tell me it’s over. Without looking through the peephole, I pull the door open.
“Eric, what are you doing here?”
He looks almost manic. I’m not sure if I should let him in. It would just be asking for trouble if I do.
“We need to talk.”
“I didn’t know Levi is your son. He never told me his last name.” That right there is a little fucked up, but whatever.
“I know,” he sighs, calming a bit. “Can I come in?”
“I don’t know if that’s a good idea.”
“Just… please, we have a lot to discuss. I only want to talk.”
He looks miserable and desperate standing there, and my heart gets the better of me. I step back and say, “Come in.”
“Thanks,” he sighs in relief as he walks in. “Aude and I split.” Is the first thing he says to me once the door is closed.
I probably shouldn’t be surprised, but I am.
“Oh. I’m sorry, Eric. Levi never mentioned his parents are divorcing. I’m sorry things didn’t work out for you,” I say sincerely.
“I’m not sorry,” he pauses, looking around the room. “I miss you.”
“Eric…” I take a deep breath and blow it out slowly. I don’t even know where to start with him.
“Sookie,” he counters. My real name sounds good coming from his mouth.
“Scarlett gave me your note. Was it the truth?” That note is tucked away in a box in my closet. I couldn’t get myself to throw it away. Or burn it like Jessica suggested.
“Yes, and I can’t seem to put myself together again. I think about you constantly,” he admits.
“I try not to think about you. It hurts too much when I do,” I say quietly. I can’t look at him.
“But you do?” he questions as he comes to stand in front of me.
“Yes,” I admit. I look up at him and add, “You’re not that easy to forget, Eric.”
“You should’ve stayed with me that day.” When he says this his hands come up to cup my face, running his thumbs over my cheeks.
“I couldn’t.” My eyes close. “If you were going to leave your wife I wanted you to do it for you because you were unhappy.”
“We split as soon as I got home that day. I was miserable and so was she. I’m… things are better for me, but I still yearn for you, Sookie.”
“I quit the Cathouse,” I tell him. “I don’t really know what I’m going to do, but I’m done with all of that. It’s time to move on.”
His thumbs are still on my face and he smiles. “I’m proud of you.”
“Thanks.” I put my hands on his wrists and the way he’s looking at me is incredibly intense. “If I’m being honest with myself, I missed you too, as hard as I tried not to.”
He tilts his head down slowly so I have time to stop him. I don’t and when his lips brush against mine it’s like I’m coming home.
“More,” I say quietly.
His lips press against mine hungrily and when he licks the seam of my lips I open for him. My body remembers immediately how good it feels to be kissed by him, and my heart agrees. His fingers end up in my hair, guiding my head one way and then the other. The kiss only ends when we need to breathe, and even then he rests his forehead on mine.
“What are we doing?” I whisper.
I smile a little.
“No, it’s better this time,” I say. “This time you’re kissing me.”
“I love kissing you… Sookie,” he says my name softly. It gives me chills.
“Then do it again.”
“Like this?” He licks my bottom lip and then tugs with his teeth until I open my mouth and he slips his tongue inside.
Yep. Exactly like this.
To say I was shocked when Levi walked into the restaurant with Sookie aka Dixie, is an understatement. Once the shock wore off I realized I had my shot. My son be damned, I was going to get my shot.
So now I’m here, kissing her, and she’s kissing me back. It’s everything I remember and more. This time I feel her passion igniting a fire within me. She still tastes like cherries and her skin is just as soft as I remember; it’s like silk under my fingers. But just as quickly as I get consumed by her, she pulls away from me again.
“Eric, wait,” she pants.
I’m not letting her go that easily. I kiss her neck, which makes her shiver and moan.
“Eric, I need to talk to Levi,” she says and her words are like a bucket of ice water. “Like it or not, I’m still with him and I don’t cheat. So until we talk, I can’t…”
I lift my head and ask, “But you want to?”
Sookie sighs and says, “Who I really am, how I ended up at the Cathouse, it’s not a pretty story.”
“I still want to hear it,” I say sincerely. “I want to know everything about you, pretty girl.”
“You know Levi calls me that, too?” she smiles a little. “Every time he did I would think of you.”
I can’t help but kiss her again for that. I realize it’s probably the ultimate violation of the bro code to steal my son’s girlfriend, but she was mine first.
Sookie pulls away from me and sits on the edge of her bed. I sit beside her and wait for her to speak.
“My mother died in childbirth. There were complications when I was born. She wouldn’t stop bleeding. She never got to hold me, from what my daddy said,” she starts, and I notice her southern accent is a little thicker than usual. “My daddy moved back in with my Gran after my mother died because he thought it would be best for me to have a female around to take care of me. When I was six my uncle died, so Daddy and Gran went down to New Orleans for the funeral and left me and my brother Jason home with my Gran’s brother, Bartlett.”
The hesitation in her voice makes my stomach drop. I have a feeling I know where this is going, and I can feel rage building up in me. I think about my princess when she was six and the fact that I would be in prison right now if someone ever laid a finger on her.
“At first it was sitting on his lap while I did my homework,” Sookie says in an almost haunted kind of way. “Slowly, it evolved into him touching me, and then me touching him…”
Her hand moves to mine and I realize I’ve balled it into a fist. I want to track this disgusting piece of shit down and kill him.
“He never… I wasn’t raped, but that’s only because I started throwing up on him every time he touched me. This went on for… God, until he found out I was getting my period. Then I was too old for him, I guess. By then I was acting out and having trouble at school. I didn’t think anyone would believe me if I told the truth. It had been going on for so long that I thought everyone would think I was just making it up so I wouldn’t be in trouble for my bad grades,” Sookie explains, and my heart breaks for her. “Then a few weeks after I turned thirteen. Daddy was working on the side of the road with his crew. They were filling potholes and some drunk idiot hit him. The car was swerving all over the road and speeding.
“The cops said it was instant, that Daddy didn’t have a chance to feel any pain. My Aunt Linda got sick with cancer later that year and moved back to be closer to Gran. I started hanging out with my cousin, Hadley, who is five years older than me. She got me drunk and high for the first time and all I could think about was how nothing hurt when I wasn’t in my head.
“It was like all the pain and bad things went away. So I started drinking and trading hand jobs for joints. I was drunk and/or high throughout most of high school. I had a series of hideous boyfriends that treated me like I was their property. More than one of them slapped me around. I got pregnant when I was eighteen, but I miscarried. I just barely graduated from high school, and I think it was only because the teachers didn’t want me to come back the next year.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Aunt Linda died a year later. I was waiting tables at this shitty dive bar in my hometown when a strip club opened in the next town over. I knew the money would be better and I’ve always liked dancing, so I auditioned. I danced there for more than a year before Gran found out. She threw me out of her house and I decided to hook up with Hadley since I didn’t really have anywhere else to go.
“I took a bus to Reno and when I got to the address she had given me, it was for The Cathouse. I didn’t know she was turning tricks. At the time I was still pissed off at Gran for trying to shove her moral code and Christian values down my throat, so as an act of defiance, Dixie Darling was born. After my first party, I cried my eyes out. There was this odd feeling of knowing that I had crossed a line, but at the same time, I felt free. I started to make friends and I discovered that I was good at what I was doing. I liked being Dixie because I could give her the happy past I never had. I could start over by being her.
“But the truth always has a way of coming to the surface,” Sookie says, and turns her head to look at me. There are tears on her cheeks. “I don’t blame you if you want to run, Eric. I’m a handful. What happened to me when I was a child wasn’t my fault, but I made a lot of bad choices because of it.”
I don’t care about the bad choices, everybody has a past.
I lie down on the bed and pull her into my arms with her face in my chest. I just stroke her hair, down to her back and let her soft cries and tears seep into my shirt. Eventually her breathing evens out and I hold her sleeping form a little tighter.
I need to call Levi. I know he agrees their relationship is over, but they need to talk about it. I want this girl to myself, and I won’t let anyone — not even my son — keep her from me.
When she stormed out of the restaurant Levi simply stared at me. His face was full of hurt, anger, and strangely, understanding. I never told him I was in love with her, but in knowing her I imagine he has an idea. She really is an amazing girl. She’s been through so much at such a young age and she deserves to be cherished and spoiled. I want to do that for her.
I will do things right with this one. The way I’m feeling right now, I want to move her into my apartment and keep her in my sights at all times. I’m sure that won’t fly though. I need to be understanding and fight for her if she tries to run again. I know her first name now and I don’t imagine there are too many Sookies hanging around South Lake Tahoe so she’ll be easy to find if she does flee when she wakes up.
When she refused to tell me her name after possibly the best sex of my life is when I think I realized I love her. I’ve been in love with her longer than that though; I just didn’t know what it was. It made me angry, and I projected that anger onto her which was completely wrong. I shouldn’t have waited until she left me there to run out and apologize and I certainly shouldn’t have blurted out that I love her, but when faced with losing her it just happened. I don’t imagine that helped my case at all.
There’s a knock on the hotel door and I look over her shoulder at the clock. She’s been asleep for almost an hour.
“Hey, pretty girl,” I nudge her and she nuzzles her face deeper into my chest. “Sweetie, wake up.” There’s another knock and she opens her eyes. “Someone is at the door.”
“Can you get it?” she mumbles and I extract myself from her grasp.
I reach the door and open it without looking. It’s Levi and he doesn’t look so happy that I made it here first.