Chapter 12 – Fallen
Sookie woke from her long nap. How could she feel worse? She called for Amelia so she could have something for the pain.
“Amelia, did Bart have anything stronger than Tylenol for me?”
“He didn’t leave me anything; I can call him and check. Why don’t you take this now and I’ll see what he says. I’ll bring you some soup too.”
“Ok, I’m going to try Eric now. I cannot remember what he said about his day when we hung up, I was so tired.” Sookie tried the number while Amelia fussed to straighten out her bed for her. “Hmm, it went straight to voicemail. That usually means he is in a meeting. I’ll try later.”
Amelia spoke to Bart and he wrote a prescription out for something a bit stronger for Sookie. Amelia called out to Jay and asked if someone could sit in the house with Sookie while she ran out to get the prescription. Instead Jay suggested that he run for the prescription since his whole crew was men and if Sookie needed help, it could be a bit awkward. Good call, Jay. Soon, Sookie had finished her lunch, had some really nice oxycodone and was ready for another nap. ‘I guess it’s a good thing Amelia was staying for the day I only got out of bed a few times to take care of some private needs.’
She woke up again at about 2 and tried Eric on the phone. No answer again. And no messages that he had called her. ‘Oh God, I was upset about Holly, did I said something to make him mad? NO, no, he was just busy. It was only Noon Eric’s time.’
Sookie called for Amelia. She wanted a shower. Amelia came in and helped her in and then stayed in the room just to be sure since Sookie was still dizzy. Amelia spoke to Bart about this earlier and he assured her that it was normal. Sookie had a blow to the head, she had very little to eat since the incident (though they were trying to get her to eat more), and he would be by within the next hour to check on her.
“Right here Sookie.”
“Can you help me out, I’m sorry to be a pain, but it’s slippery in here.”
“Sure. How do you feel after your shower?”
“Really much better. Can we try going downstairs?”
“Sorry, NO. Bart will be here shortly and you’re not steady enough. If you fall, I won’t be able to help you, or worse, we both go down.”
“We can go to the elevator on the B&B side.”
“Sookie, that’s a long walk. It’s not like we have a wheelchair here. Please, just stay in your room?”
“Ok, but I at least want to get into something other than pajamas.”
Sookie did feel better and she even ate some more soup. Bart was pleased to see her sitting up and looking more alert when he arrived. His check up showed that she was progressing as normal for hitting her head like she did. She still had pain, and again it was normal so he gave her another dose of oxycodone. She fell asleep shortly after. She rose again at about 6. ‘How can I sleep so much’ she thought to herself. She turned and saw that Maura was working quietly on her homework in Sookie’s chair. Sookie smiled and called her over.
Maura happily jumped into the bed and Sookie’s arms. She told Sookie about her day then went to tell the adults that Sookie was awake. Sookie took a moment to try Eric’s phone again, but he still did not answer. ‘Something is wrong. Maybe he can reply to a text?’
Russell arrived in her room while she was texting. She scrunched up her face and Russell asked her what was bothering her.
“Eric has not picked up all day. I’m worried I ticked him off this morning. Did he check in with you or anyone else?”
“Sookie, YOU ticked someone off? Let me guess, he was trying to help and you put up a fight?”
“Russell, you hush, I’m already feeling badly and you’re not helping.”
“Sookie, he said something about studio meetings today. I’m sure he is just busy.”
She heard Russell’s words, but she didn’t believe him. Something had happened. Maybe Eric could no longer tolerate her stubbornness; maybe the drama was too much. He would not have gone the day without at least checking on her health. “No, Russell something is wrong. I feel like I lost him.”
“Sookie, you have not lost him, I’m sure.”
She was starting to get weepy but she held it back. She decided seeing more people would help distract her from the hurt she felt.
“Ok, I’m going to try and believe you, but I need a distraction until I hear from Eric. Can you and Bart help me downstairs?”
Russell stepped away from the door and Sookie thought he was going to call for Bart. Instead she heard the voice she wanted to hear all day say, “You don’t need the distraction now, but if you still want, I can carry you down the stairs.”
“Eric!” Sookie said and she held out her arms.
He launched himself into the room then slowed down to sit on the bed. Sookie pulled Eric to her body and she then proceeded to weep uncontrollably while she clung to him. He just held on and waited. He knew she just needed to let it out.
He had wanted to their reunion to be joyous, not the result of a bad thing. He had wanted to have her alone at his house for a few days next week. But suddenly, those wants did not matter. He was here with her and she felt as good as he remembered. No, even better now that they had grown so much closer, ironically, from being so far apart. The hiccupping started and he knew she was calming down.
“Sookie, it’s this new invention, it’s called an airplane and it flew Pam and me from California to Pennsylvania.”
She playfully slapped his arm, “Don’t be a jerk, I meant what about your meetings, and the Oscar practice? Oh and Pam is HERE?”
“Pam helped with the calls. I can’t return with you right after the Oscars since the studio meetings were rescheduled for the week after the awards show. I moved my Oscar practice to next Friday, so I was hoping you would fly out early with Pam and me on Thursday. I can get you on a flight Sunday night if you want to cut your time short in LA.”
“Let’s talk about the flights later. Can I meet Pam now?”
“I’ll call her up in a minute. There is something I want to discuss with you first.”
‘Uh oh, here comes the part where he is mad at me,’ she thought. “What uuooommph”
Eric had turned and attacked her mouth. He wanted to hold her head while he kissed her, but he refrained due to her injuries, so he distracted his hands by moving them up the back of her shirt to touch her skin. Sookie did the same and enjoyed the feel of his muscles flexing while he moved. He broke off the kiss quickly so he wouldn’t accidentally hurt her.
“Wow, we really needed to discuss that.”
“Yes, now we can go downstairs.”
“Um, Eric, you cannot go downstairs with the sword in that condition. You need to think about something else for a minute.”
“Actually, I should tell you what Russell told me about Bill. You need to know, and well, that worked already.”
Sookie giggled at that.
“Sookie, Bill was released on bail this afternoon.”
“Nooo, Oh God, what am I going to do?”
“Russell and I have discussed some options. Will you be open to them and think them through while we discuss them downstairs?”
“I’m not going to like these options, am I?”
“Not all of them.”
“Come on; let’s get you out of this room.” Eric said as he picked her up bridal style to carry her down the stairs.”
“Eric, I’m too heavy!”
“Quiet, woman, I am fine.”
From the dining room downstairs, Sookie’s friends had heard the crying and Pam commented, “Wow, she can really cry can’t she?”
Maura replied, “All the time, any time; happy, sad, TV commercials. She can be so embarrassing.”
The friends at the table all laughed and agreed with Maura.
“So, teacups, what are we going to do this while I am here? Have you tried on your new outfits? Should we go shopping?”
Eleanor answered this time, “We didn’t try on the outfits. I don’t know about shopping, we have to ask Mama.”
Pam, seeing a kindred couture spirit in Russell said, “Why don’t you and I grab all the girls and take them to that fancy mall I read about? Do you have a large vehicle for all of us and the purchases?”
“Pam, I think that is a great idea. It’ll get the girls out of the B&B while Sookie cooks for her dinner on Saturday night, and it gives me an excuse to shop. Bart is not fond of shopping so I rarely get this chance. We can take Sookie’s Escalade; it will fit all of us and still have room in the back. We can leave right after pee-wee basketball on Saturday. I’ll tell Sookie. Amelia, can we steal Grace for the day? They are all sleeping at our house anyway since Sookie has her dinner that night. You and Tray can have the entire afternoon and evening to yourselves.”
“That sounds good to me.” Amelia replied with a big grin on her face.
Sookie arrived in the dining room in Eric’s arms and he placed her at the head of the large table the group created from combining the smaller tables in the room. Everyone came to greet Sookie with a hug. Pam was last. She bent to hug Sookie and after the hug, Sookie landed a large slap to her face. “The hug was to thank you for being here and helping Eric. The slap – well I have owed you that slap for the nasty junk you have been spewing on our calls. By the way, that nastiness ends now.”
Pam rubbed the handprint on her face, raised an eyebrow to Eric and announced. “I like her.”
Holly arrived at the B&B that afternoon. She had come to check on Sookie and wanted to help. While everyone was still laughing at Sookie and Pam’s interaction, she began serving dinner.
After dinner was over, Holly took the girls to play a game while the adults discussed the situation with Bill. Russell started. “We all know that Bill has been released. Our concern is that he will return to the B&B at some point. The tricky situation is he owns half of the InnKeeper software business, which operates out of this address. Eric and I have spoken. He is here until next Thursday so we are in good shape until he leaves. Pam will be driving the girls to and from school each day and the school has been alerted to our concerns about Bill. Sookie wasn’t scheduled to leave until next Saturday, and there are guests scheduled at the B&B for next weekend. Sookie, I know you wanted to check guests in and at least prep for the breakfast on Saturday, would you reconsider and let Holly handle it? You can leave with Eric on Thursday.”
Sookie appearing shocked at the clusterfuck that had become her life said, “But the girls? Will they be safe? And Eric, you still want me to go to the Oscars, what if I still have my bruise?
Pam handled the bruise comment. “I have a makeup guru coming to do your face, it will be perfect.”
Tray continued, “And we believe Maura and Eleanor should go to California with you.”
“No! What about school, their lives, the disruption? And Eric is not prepared to have kids at his house.”
“Sookie, I already spoke to the principal at the school, they are prepared to assist as needed. Maura in 2nd grade would miss more, but in either case, I’ll ensure they are fine academically from being out. It’s not that long of a time. As far as Eric, I’ll leave that for him to answer.”
“Sookie, this was my idea. I don’t want to leave you or the girls here while Bill is a danger. My house is big enough for everyone. And if we run out of room, we can throw the clothes out that Pam keeps in one of the extra rooms. You can pack your work for InnKeeper. Holly is ready and able to step-in at the B&B. Please consider this for everyone’s safety, and selfishly my peace of mind.”
“Ok, Eric, you and I will talk more about this later. I guess you have all been holding roundtable sessions on my life while I have been lounging in bed. I’m sorry for being so much trouble.”
Amelia placed her hand over Sookie’s at the table. “Sookie, you are not trouble. You would do this for any of us, well maybe not Pam yet. The point is, we love you, let us help you.”
“Ok, mostly because I just don’t have the energy to fight. Eric, can you help me to the family room?”
Sookie said her goodnights to everyone since she was planning to go to bed after checking in with the girls and doing some planning with Holly. Eric helped her walk to the family room. He tried to carry her, but she smacked his arms. “I can walk on a flat surface, save your energy for the stairs.”
Sookie played a short game with the girls since she had spent so little time with them, made her plans with Holly and then asked Eric to help her to bed. Once in her room, Eric waited patiently while she changed for bed in her bathroom. He had offered to help her change and was called a perv. She emerged and they snuggled together on the bed to talk more.
“Eric, do you really want all of us in LA? What do we do about the Oscars, is Pam going to stay home with the girls, can we get a sitter?
“You always worry about the details. Pam has already arranged for an Oscar party at the house. She asked your makeup and hairstylist to stay and do the girls hair and nails. She is planning to buy them fancy dresses when they go shopping on Saturday, and she has arranged for a caterer to come cook for them.”
“Why would she do this, she has been such a bitch to me?”
“I think your question is your answer. I don’t know if she realized that you meant something to me until yesterday. I was a mess, and she helped me through it. She has always been polite to the girls on the phone, but continued to hold back or be nasty with you. She was unhappy with you, or rather, how I was because of you and she feared you were going to hurt me. Now she feels guilty and is doing what she can to help. Showering the girls with gifts and attention is her way of feeling something without risking herself.”
“Your parents really did a number on you guys didn’t they? And she thinks I would hurt you? No offense, but honestly, wouldn’t the more obvious risk be you leaving me?”
“You know, we have not talked so much about this, but you realize we have just jumped from a few dates, to long distance chatting, to a relationship where someone could even leave?” He ended with a smile he could not hold back.
She matched his smile. “I know we have not talked about it, but I cannot imagine not having you as part of my life. Not just because of this Bill mess, but the everyday connection we had, even when we were physically apart.”
“I feel the same way Sookie. I really missed you so I have something to ask. I was hoping to sleep in bed with you while I’m here.” Sookie started to interrupt, but he stopped her. “Sookie, I just want to be close. I would never try anything to make you uncomfortable while you’re recovering from a head injury. Bart told me he stayed here the other night and told the girls it was to keep an eye on you. I think we can extend that excuse. Please?
“No hanky panky?”
“Well, maybe a little hanky, but no panky, and all you need to say is stop.”
“Ok, I would like you to stay here too.”
“I’m going to help Pam get the girls ready for bed and then will be back.”
“Oh my, I forgot to ask, where are Pam and Holly sleeping?”
“Well, Jay got the RV hooked up that arrived early; they are sharing that for now. The miracle is that Pam had no complaints about it. My guess is I should add yet.”
“Off you go – take care of everyone then come back.”
When Eric returned, Sookie was already asleep so he took a quick shower, donned a respectable pair of sleep pants and hopped into bed. He snuggled against her and was asleep quickly.
The next morning, Sookie enjoyed waking up snuggled to Eric’s chest. While he was still sleeping, she took a moment to just stare at him. He looked very peaceful, almost innocent (HAH) while he slept. Even though she tried to resist, she pulled the sheet down a bit to ogle at his chest. That’s when he woke up and she was caught. He snickered and gently moved her to her back “I caught you staring at my chest, Sookie. Admit it.”
“Nope, not me.”
“I’m not letting you out of bed until you admit it. I’m going to start tickling next. Don’t forget the girls showed me the most effective spots on you.”
The playful banter went on for a few minutes until he did start gently tickling her. That was the end for Sookie, since she had not gotten out of bed yet and had to pee. She gave in quickly then and admitted that she was staring at his chest.
Holly had breakfast made and the girls were up and dressed by Pam before Eric carried Sookie downstairs. They had another argument about her still needing to be carried. Eric ended the disagreement quickly by pressing his forehead to hers and telling her he enjoyed carrying her. She stopped complaining and Eric just grinned at his win.
Sookie was quite tired after breakfast so Eric made her comfortable in the family room while he and Pam took care of the girls. She slept most of the day again, so Eric called Bart. He stopped by and assured Eric that she was progressing well. Bart was right. When Sookie woke up Friday morning, she was much perkier and in less pain. Even though she seemed better, Eric insisted on carrying her down the stairs where Holly was serving breakfast.
After Pam left with the girls for school, Holly and Sookie met to plan the weekend for the B&B guests. Holly was going to handle the food shopping that afternoon and Sookie was worried about not doing it personally. She often planned her meals at the store after seeing what was available and fresh. As a compromise, Holly offered, “how about we plan the menus and if I see something different that I think we can use, I’ll call you from the store?”
Sookie agreed and Holly was off. The next task would not be as pleasant. Russell was coming over to discuss their legal options for a restraining order. As it stood, Russell could not file a restraining order due to Bill’s half ownership of InnKeeper. Up until this point, the address of InnKeeper was the B&B address. To make any changes to that, Sookie and Bill would both need to participate and meet together. Sookie did not want to see him, even if it was a third party location. Police Chief John Stoltfus arrived with Russell to participate in the conversation, and to check on Sookie.
Sookie turned to John and Russell, “Can Bill’s behavior be used in any way to force him to sell his portion of InnKeeper.”
“As the Police Chief I say no. As your friend I can suggest that you offer to not press charges in exchange for his agreement to sell. We could still go to the judge for the restraining order based on the first set of bruises he gave you a few weeks ago. To be clear, I did not say any of this.”
Russell responded. “Fair enough. John, what happens when Sookie and the girls are back, there are times when nobody is around?”
“We are a small police force. If Sookie calls, we will come running. The flip side is, since we are a small force in numbers but we cover a large geography, I don’t have the person power to ensure we are close to the B&B at all times.
Eric interjected, “We could hire security. It was always in the film’s budget and when we arrived here at first, Alcide and I did not think we needed it for this location. We can go back and change the request now.”
John told Eric he knew of a local firm that could help and he would send him the details. He told everyone he would keep them informed and departed. Russell asked Sookie about John’s suggestion. They discussed her desire to be done with InnKeeper, but with the girls’ future financial security in mind, she couldn’t just give away her portion. On the other hand, nobody wanted to let Bill off the hook for the assault. Sookie turned to Eric and said, “Let’s just start with you being here for now, we will take the girls to LA with us, and deal with the rest later. I just want to be Scarlett and think about it tomorrow.”
“Scarlett huh, I guess the Southern Belle in you comes out every once and a while.”
Once Holly returned, Sookie spent the rest of the morning in the kitchen going over her purchases. Holly had called with ideas once she was out, and Sookie was pleased. They planned the two breakfasts and Saturday’s dinner. Holly also started on the cookies for the B&B guests. Eric snuck in and stole several when he smelled them coming out of the oven.
“You will spoil your lunch if you keep that up,” Sookie chastised.
“I don’t think so; I have already proven how much I can stuff myself when I’m here. What’s for lunch anyway?”
Holly responded “Ham and Bean soup. I actually made it yesterday to get a jump on things. It’s heating up now. About another 15 minutes if you want to call Pam.”
Eric was laughing, “I cannot wait to see Pam’s face with this food. She starves herself like the rest of Hollywood. This is going to be priceless.”
Eric returned with Pam for lunch and she sneered at the food on the table. “What’s that?”
“Soup Pam, sit down and enjoy the meal that Holly went to the trouble to prepare.”
“Eric, I won’t fit in my clothes if I start eating like this. All the pasta from last night was bad enough. If you make me eat that, I’ll need to replace all my clothes in a larger size. Your credit card will suffer.”
With that, Holly produced a plate of fresh cut up fruit and yogurt for Pam. She just made a friend. Pam purred to Holly, “Make sure I have your sizes before I leave tomorrow, my thanks to you will be in a Neiman Marcus bag.”
After lunch, Sookie announced she needed a nap, so Eric helped her up the stairs and he actually let her walk this time. She removed her shoes and got into bed. Moments later, Eric joined her. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“I ate a ton of soup, I’m sleepy too, move over and share the bed. You have slept alone for so long you forget you cannot take the entire middle of the bed.”
“Oh, and you have such great experience with sharing your bed. For sleep I mean.”
“Touché, now be quiet and go to sleep.”
About 2 hours later, Sookie was woken up from soft kisses on her neck while a hand was trailing up her tummy. She smiled at Eric and before she could say anything, he was on her mouth kissing her passionately while his hand under her shirt had reached her breasts. Instead of just pushing the bra to the side, his other hand went to her back to unhook the offending garment and he freed her breasts. He rolled on top of her and started lifting her shirt. Sookie stopped his hand and turned her face away from him and started to cry.
Thinking he had hurt or offended her in some way, he moved to lie next to her so he could see her face. Her eyes were closed. She was in effect hiding right in front of him.
“Sookie, talk to me; tell me what I have done to upset you. I wasn’t planning to push you; I just wanted to touch you, to see you.”
Sookie continued to sob and keep her eyes closed.
“Sookie, I’m begging you, tell me what is wrong.”
“Eric,” Sookie started between cries, “I’m not like the other woman you have dated. I’m older than you; I have carried and fed two babies. I have stretch marks! I don’t know what I was thinking; I could not be what you want. You could be with anyone. You don’t need to be saddled with an older pudgy mother of two young girls.”
“Sookie, how can you say these things? I don’t even know where to start to respond. I want you. The other women I have dated, well fucked, they mean nothing. Their starved bodies are hard and bony. You are not pudgy, you are perfect. I love that you have breasts and hips, and your ass is gorgeous. Sookie, I played that video that Bart sent every day after I received it – sometimes several times a day. How could you think I would not want you? I know we wanted to take things slowly, but Sookie, you need to know something. I’m falling for you. I cannot slow my feelings down. Being with you and the girls would not mean being ‘saddled.’ I enjoy being with all of you. What will make you believe me?”
Sookie was speechless. ‘He was falling for her? Ok, he did not use the “L” word, but that’s what that meant, right? He wanted her?’ She reached up and touched his face. He looked almost scared that she would reject him. He had laid his heart out for her, and she realized in that moment that she too, was falling for him. “You don’t need to prove anything to me Eric. I believe you. I can see it on your face. I hope you can see it in mine as well because I feel the same about you. When I thought I had lost you yesterday, I felt like my heart was breaking. I don’t ever want to feel that way again. Now, kiss me.”
Eric started to lean down and to pick up where they left off when they heard the sound of elephants coming up the stairs.
“The girls” the both said at the same time.
Sookie quickly adjusted herself before the girls came running into the room. Eleanor started, “Mama, are you feeling better?”
“I am. How are my girls today?”
“Good, we like being picked up by Pam. Everyone was staring at how pretty she was.”
“Eric and I have a surprise for you. Do you want to tell them Eric?”
“I don’t know, maybe they should finish their homework first. They might not be able to concentrate after they hear the surprise.”
Both girls started begging, “Please, we promise to do our work, please pretty please!”
“Ok, min Prinsessas, since you promised. You know next week that your Mama is flying to California to go to the Oscars with me?” The girls nodded. “Well, she is leaving on Thursday now, two days earlier.”
Their faces fell. They both thought this was a terrible surprise. Eric had to make himself count to 5 before he told them the other part.
“Well, we thought you might want to join us. Would you like to fly out to LA with your Mama, Pam and me?”
Eric had to cover his ears from the squealing that started. Pam joined everyone after she heard the noises coming from Sookie’s bedroom. The girls were still jumping up and down about the trip when she arrived. Seeing their excitement, she decided to add to it by promising trips to both Disneyland and Universal Studios. The squealing started again.
The next few days passed quickly. Feeling much better, Sookie was able to work side by side with Holly to host the B&B guests. Pam had filled the back of the Escalade with clothing for just about everyone, and that was with some items being shipped directly to Eric’s home in California. Eric and Sookie enjoyed snuggling together each night and Eric was being painfully chaste with his affections. During the day, he rarely left her side. He helped greet and check in guests and he stayed in the kitchen when she was cooking. Normally, Sookie would have been stifled by the constant proximity, but with the week she’d had, she was comforted.