Chapter 11 – Obsession
On Valentine’s Day, Eric sent a beautiful bouquet of red and white roses to Sookie. He had also written a letter to be delivered with the roses. The delivery person told Sookie that Eric had called the shop last week, asked about the roses then explained he wanted to mail a handwritten letter to be delivered with them. The delivery boy had a large box for the girls, also with a letter for them. Sookie swooned. ‘Oh he is good. My resistance is becoming futile.’ Then she read her letter:
My sweet Sookie:
I found the purchase of flowers for you somewhat difficult. You see, in the past, I would just buy any flowers, that is, if I even sent anyone flowers. For you on Valentine’s Day I wanted to send flowers that would convey my impatience for your arrival in LA. I also wanted to convey my commitment to you that I am not seeing anyone else. I set out to find flowers with meanings appropriate to those messages.
What I found was inconsistency. Some folks believe that ivy conveys that faithfulness I want to show you and others believe that ivy conveys dependence. I certainly did not want to give the wrong message with flowers. I thought pink roses would look lovely in your home, but the meanings did not have enough oomph behind them. Then I saw that red and white roses combined meant united – and I found that was pretty much the standard meaning. ‘United’ resonated with me, since we will be re-united soon.
So until we are re-united, I continue counting down the days on my calendar, looking at the pictures I have of you in my room, and catching my breath each time I see you on my caller id.
PS: The pink camellia’s I sent last week mean longing. I think you can figure out why I sent those.
Sookie stood in the doorway smiling like a loon as she thought to herself, ‘Yes, Call the Borg, resistance is in fact futile, I guess I need to rethink Hanky Panky because I’m not going to make it.’
About an hour later, the girls were off the bus and came running into the house. They had surprises from school for Mama and were very excited. Sookie opened her envelope from Eleanor and she gushed over the Valentine even though she had a pile of glitter now on her kitchen floor. The paper Valentine was thick with paint and glue and her fridge magnet would not even hold up the weight. Sookie informed Eleanor that Valentines needing extra magnets meant they were extra special. Maura had created a clay heart for Sookie and it immediately went on her desk in a place of honor.
The girls asked if Eric called about his Valentines and Sookie said he was scheduled to call shortly. While they waited, he had sent presents for them to open. They jumped up and down while Sookie retrieved the package and letter from the foyer.
The girls tore into the package first, and found four wrapped boxes, two for each girl. Eleanor opened hers first and found a Disney Princess Cupcake Party Game and a purple heart charm for her bracelet. Maura’s box contained a game called Pretty Pretty Princess and a red heart charm for her bracelet. Sookie helped them read the letter:
Min Kara Prinsessas:
I am anxious to see you again in a few weeks. While you wait, could you please learn the two games I have enclosed so we can begin playing them on your Family Game nights? I want to practice with both of you before Alcide returns to the B&B in March so we can be sure to kick his butt.
I miss you both very much. I am using the calendar you suggested to cross off the days so every night I think of you both before I go to bed. I enclosed your heart charms so you can think of me whenever you see them.
I know you are excited for your weekend at Mena’s and maybe just a little bit nervous about being away from your Mama for those days. Your Mama and I discussed this, and she will be leaving her iPad at home so we can all video conference each day. Remember, your Mama may be on TV as she walks into the Oscars with me.
Be sure to give your Mama lots of hugs from me.
Until the 28th,
“YOU’RE GOING TO CALIFORNIA? TO SEE HIM?”
Sookie had left the door unlocked when she walked in with the girls and now Bill was in the office. He had heard the whole thing.
“SOOKEH, are you fucking him? He turned to the girls. “Do you think he is going to be your new Daddy? I have news for you; he will never be your Daddy, I will.”
Now Sookie was frightened. She needed to get the girls to safety and hopefully someone who could help. She had a plan. “Girls, why don’t you head out to the Barn so Mr. Compton and I can talk?”
The girls ran out of the room.
Bill was snarling now, he approached Sookie like an animal going after his prey. “I asked you a question.”
“Bill, what does this have to do with our business? I need you to leave.”
“I’m not leaving and you will explain your actions. Now.”
Sookie knew she didn’t have to explain her actions; she wanted to yell back at Bill. She also knew that yelling would just escalate the situation faster so she chose a different approach. “Of course Bill, let’s sit down and talk about what you heard.” Once seated, she started to calmly explain. “I am going to California for a visit. That was planned before Eric left. I need to meet with the Studio about the film,” Sookie lied, hoping it would help her planned visit seem like a business trip.
“And where are you staying?”
“With Eric’s sister.” He appeared to be calming down, this was working. She just needed to get him out of here.
Then, two things seemed to happen at once: Bill stood up and backhanded Sookie across the face calling her a liar as Jay and some of his crew ran in from the Barn. Sookie had fallen onto the floor and Jay thought she hit her head hard on the way down.
“I heard you talking to him the other day – that trip is not all business. You were speaking about a relationship. DON’T LIE TO ME!”
With that, Jay was on top of him and held him down. He informed Sookie that he had already called the police and she should lock herself up until they arrived in case Bill escaped his grip. She stumbled for her private quarters with the help of one of Jay’s crew members, locked the door and called Russell. He was heading right over.
About 30 minutes later, Bill was being dragged out in cuffs while Sookie nursed her head, face and eye. Jay and the rest of his crew stayed with the girls in the Barn explaining that their Mama was fine and she just needed to talk to the police before they went back to the house.
The phone rang. Sookie had missed the scheduled video chat with Eric, so it was probably him. She asked Russell to answer it. She could hear Russell stumbling over what to say, and she just cried more. Knowing he was going to be upset, she cringed at the thought of telling him. He would know how bad it was from the girls’ version and after seeing her face on video. She asked Russell to cover the situation briefly with Eric so he could blow off some steam.
Eric was in near panic from Russell’s words. Bill was acting insane. He knew there were workers on the property, yet he still lost control with Sookie. He was going to talk to the Police Chief tomorrow to see what options they had for Sookie’s safety. Could she get a restraining order for a business partner? Would that even work? Once Eric was done cursing, he asked Russell to set up the video conference.
Oh, Sookie was dreading this. Her face was red and swollen and forming a bruise as she spoke. Russell set the iPad up on the desk, helped Sookie into her chair and left the room so Sookie and Eric could talk.
Eric winced when Sookie came into view. He did not intend to, but the guilt over her situation, being alone and unprotected was taking over. Sookie just started crying into about how she was sorry to put him through her drama. As usual, he let her cry it out while he sat clenching and unclenching his fists. When she started hiccupping signaling the end of the crying he spoke. “Sookie, please don’t apologize to me. I’m sorry I’m not there to take care of you; to tend to your face, to take care of the girls. Please don’t apologize; let me know what I can do to make this better.”
Sniffling, Sookie replied, “Well, I have to go over the incident with John, our Police Chief, and Russell. Can you stay on the line here and be with me?”
“I will stay, of course.”
Sookie called to Russell and he and John came into the office. John said a quick hello to Eric and began questioning Sookie about the attack from Bill. She started from last night when she heard someone leave the house. She told them she looked out at the car and it was Bill’s and that he had likely overheard a conversation she was having with Eric on the speakerphone about their relationship. Trying to be tasteful, John asked Eric and Sookie some questions to get an understanding of what Bill may have heard last night. Sookie answered the polite questions on the private topic and John confirmed he understood.
Sookie moved onto describing today and that she was in her office with the girls reading the letter from Eric to them. She handed John the letter and he quickly read it. Sookie explained that Bill started speaking right after she finished the letter. He was angry that she was going to California to be with Eric. He had cursed in front of the girls, asking if she was fucking him (then she apologized for cursing). The next part was hard for Sookie to say. She visibly shook as if she had a chill while she mentally prepared herself.
Russell placed his hand over hers and explained, “Sookie, you’re not alone, I can see something more is troubling you, we are here to help, but we need to know what we are dealing with.”
“Ok,” Sookie said, and she let out a big breath. She faced Russell and told him “Bill then asked the girls if they thought Eric was going to be their next Daddy, and then Bill said that HE was going to be their next Daddy and not Eric. She faced the iPad to look at Eric and started saying “Eric, I’m sorry, I have not said anything like this to the girls. I don’t want you to think…”
“Sookie, please don’t worry about it, we can talk about all this after you and the girls are safe from Bill.” Eric could not believe that she was worried about his reaction to the comments. What Eric wanted to do was kill Bill and it was a damn good thing he was a 5 hour flight away.
She explained that she sent the girls to the Barn, hoping they would tell Jay what was happening. She stopped to express how proud she was that Maura or Eleanor thought to tell Jay. Eric interrupted and told them he had talked to the girls about the contractors on the property, and that if they ever heard Bill and Mama fighting; they could go to one for help. Sookie looked at her video of Eric and started to get teary again, but she fought it back. Sookie continued by explaining that she tried to downplay the relationship between her and Eric by saying the trip was business. He called her a liar and hit her, and that’s when Jay came in.
John stood and spoke, “OK Sookie, I have enough to get started on his arrest. Russell, I’ll keep you informed?”
“Yes John, thank you. I’ll walk you out.”
“Russell, can you tell the girls to come in from the Barn?” Sookie asked.
He nodded his reply and informed her that he would call Bart to bring over Mena and pizzas for dinner.
Eric, feeling helpless from California asked, “Sookie, are you OK, how can I help?”
“Well, how about when the girls arrive you guys talk about your gifts. They need to see that I’m alright, and I don’t want this Valentine’s Day ruined any further. I love my roses and the letter by the way.”
Eric smiled and held up a half empty tin, “And I love my cookies. The shampoo was inspired. You know how I miss your scent, now I can have it mostly with me. Thank God you don’t use flowery stuff.”
That actually got a small laugh out of Sookie. “Yes Eric, you remind me all the time that you miss my scent. I feel like I’m long distance dating a bloodhound.”
The girls ran in and were shocked by Sookie’s face, but she distracted them by saying Eric was on the video call. He put on his huge smile and walked the iPad to the refrigerator that now displayed two hand-made Valentines and magnets. “Do you guys know that this fridge never had anything on it until today? Thank goodness you included magnets for the cards, or I would have needed to buy them. How did you make these anyway?”
Maura responded and started going on about Perler Beads and that they each designed their own heart and Mama ironed them to stay together. They continued talking about the new games and Eric shared stories about strange Hollywood outfits (this was a new common discussion point between Eric and the girls). The girls heard some noise at Eric’s and he asked them to hang on. He was off screen for a few moments and Pam appeared.
“Hello teacups (Pam’s word for the girls). Happy Valentine’s Day. I love my Valentine Cards. I have never received a handmade card like this before. You have spoiled Eric and me.”
“Oh Pam,” Sookie began, “we never opened your boxes yet, let me grab them from the mail bin. We had a distraction after we opened Eric’s….”
“Yes Sookie, Eric already told me and I’m sorry.”
“Here you are girls.”
“Oh thank you Pam! Mama, look at these outfits!”
“Gucci Pam? I don’t know if I will let them leave the house in these. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome; I picked red in honor of Valentine’s Day. You can save them for when I come in and we take the teacups out shopping for more clothing. I cannot be seen around town with them in target clothes.”
“Wow Pam, you went from sweet one moment to, well, right back to being you in the next.” Turning to Maura and Eleanor, “Ignore what she said about Target, we get lots of nice stuff there.”
“Eric, Russell’s family just arrived. Will you be home later? I can call you before bed.”
“Can you put Russell on first?”
“Sure, I’ll call for him, hang on a moment. Thanks again for the outfits Pam.”
“Goodbye Sookie, hope you feel better soon.”
Sookie called for Russell and he and Bart came into the office. They got her in the car with Bart and Russell returned to the web call with Eric.
“Russell, is Bart looking at Sookie’s face? Is she going to be OK there alone?”
“Actually he is taking her to the local urgent care for a scan to be safe. Don’t worry about her being alone, we called in the cavalry. Amelia, Tray and all the kids will be here shortly. We are making up a schedule so that someone will be staying with her until she leaves next week. Bart and I are spending the night here since he is concerned about her health.”
“OK, I feel better now. Thanks. You will call me if anything happens? It doesn’t matter what time.”
“Certainly. Should I have her call you after she returns with Bart and has some dinner?”
“Please. I’m feeling, I don’t know what I’m feeling Russell, but I don’t think I’ll feel any better until I see her next week.”
“No, I don’t think you will my friend.”
Eric ended the video chat and felt like he wanted to punch something. He called Alcide and asked him to meet him at the gym.
“At 3 in the afternoon on Valentine’s Day? Dude, I have a ‘date of the year’ to get ready for. Maria-Starr will have my head if she doesn’t get her full romantic evening.”
“Bill attacked Sookie today. He got her in the face.”
“Oh God, is she alright. What the hell happened?”
“It’s a long story; I’ll fill you in when we meet tomorrow. Go have a good date with Maria-Starr.”
“Thanks Eric, I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
Pam had come back into the room while he was talking to Alcide. “Eric, do you think I’m so cold and uncaring that you cannot speak to me about Sookie? I’m right here and not going anywhere. You don’t need to call Alcide.”
“Well Pam, I wanted to hit someone so I thought a trip to the gym would help.”
“I can call Victor; you usually want to hit him. Seriously though, how about you go for a run, and I’ll get some Chinese takeout? We can sit on the couch and eat out of the boxes while we play Sookie’s dance video on continuous loop.”
“Ok Pam, I’ll meet you back here in an hour.”
Sookie woke up with a headache, and Bart asleep on her bed. He was specifically on it, not under the covers or anything. He woke up after he felt Sookie move. “Sorry Sookie,” I had to check on you a few times and just gave up and stayed in here. You were moaning a lot.”
“Yeah, it hurts now too.”
“Let me get you some Tylenol. You just stay in bed; Russell already has the girls ready for school. I’ll send them up to say good morning.”
“Thanks Bart. What would I do without you guys?”
Russell came up with the girls, Tylenol, and ice water. He explained that Eric had called back last night and since Sookie was already asleep, they just caught him up and he would call today. Amelia would be over after the school bus picked up Grace and would spend the day with Sookie. She would also get the B&B ready for the weekend guests.
“Dammit Russell, call her and tell her I’m fine. I don’t need to be babied!” Sookie said as she got out of bed. Then she started to sway.
“Oh yes, you look fine. You stay put and let us take care of you. If you’re mad about Amelia, wait ’til you find out what Eric did.”
“WHAT? Tell me!”
“Uh uh, I’m not taking the yelling he would be getting about it.”
Russell heard Sookie mumble about high handed jerks…but he just chuckled and left so Sookie could talk with the girls.
Eric called, just after 5AM his time.
Russell had Sookie’s phone from last night so he answered. “Oh she is in rare form this morning. You may actually want to call back. I only told her about Amelia staying today and she is pissed about that. You have an uphill battle my friend.”
“She’ll get over it. At least I hope so. Is Bart still there; is there an update on her health?”
“Sure, hang on. I’ll grab the girls for a quick hello too.”
Bart filled in Eric on the night with Sookie and as expected, she was still a bit dizzy this morning. The girls got on the phone to say hi before they had to run for their bus. When Maura took the phone from Eleanor, she told Eric “Mama is gonna be mad at you when she finds out what you’re doing.”
“You think so do you? Why are you laughing about it?”
“Cause its funny when Mama yells at someone else.”
“Well, I think you’ll be at school when I get yelled at anyway. Run the phone to your Mama. I’ll talk to you later today.”
“Here Mama, it’s Eric on the phone.”
“Good morning Sookie.”
“WHAT DID YOU DO?”
“I’ll explain in a moment. Can you tell me how you are, please?”
“Ok, well, besides curious about whatever you did. I actually feel worse than right after he hit me. Oh, I fell asleep and never talked to you last night. I’m so sorry!”
“I’m glad you were resting, and I want you to keep resting. This is part of the reason why I did what I did. Sookie, I hired Holly to come and stay and help you this weekend with your guests.”
“Eric, that’s tomorrow, I’ll be fine by then I’m sure! There is no need…”
“Sookie, please listen. I did this for me. I needed to help you in some way while I was so far away. I know you would not cancel on your guests, especially for a three-day weekend. You also have the extra dinner on Saturday night. You already had Holly scheduled for some time this weekend, I just expanded it.”
“Dammit, Eric, you didn’t need to do anything. I’m capable of taking care of my own business.”
“You don’t want my help while you recover?”
“Let’s talk about it later, I’m well, my head hurts.”
“OK Sookie, I have studio meetings today and I’ll call you when I’m done.”
“Fine, later then,” Sookie said and she hung up.
“Eric,” Pam asked. “Are you ready? If you’re going to make the plane, we need to get on the road.”
“I don’t know if going is the right thing now Pam. Sookie did not seem so eager for any of my help. Maybe I should just stay home and monitor the situation with Russell’s help.”
“Now you listen to me, you fucking idiot. I have read all those romance novels and watched the movies. At some point, the couple has a collective brainfart and they forget to communicate or they start to assume what the other one is thinking. She is on pain meds, had her face hit hard and fell on her head. I think she is allowed to seem unenthusiastic about everything. How do you think YOU will feel two weeks from now if you don’t get on that plane? She may not be expecting it, but it was your first thought yesterday and you worked for hours to change schedules and make it happen. So, get your ass and your bags in the car and let’s go.”
“Stop staring at me Eric and get moving.”
“Pam, what if”
“I mean it Eric. If I’m wrong, you can take away my credit cards for a month. Now let’s go.”
Eric followed Pam out. It was easier than thinking about it. Then he realized she had her own bag and he looked up at her.
“What? I need to meet little Miss Mary Sunshine for myself. Besides, I can help with the teacups while you take care of Sookie.”
“Pam, what do you know about children?”
“I found a mall, a really big one with designer stores. It’s about 40 minutes from the B&B. We’ll be fine.”
Eric walked out of his house and discovered that Pam had hired a limo instead of driving her to the airport. That made sense now that she was going as well. Again, he did not need to think. He just got in the car and they were off. With the time zone change and flight, they were due to land at almost 5PM Eastern. He told Russell he planned to be there around 6:30 if the trip was without problems.