Chapter 14 – I will Only Break Your Heart
The weekend went fast and before they knew it, it was Sunday, Oscar day. Needing significantly less time to get ready, Eric was designated as the girls’ pool toy. Somehow it was going to require: Pam, a seamstress, a hairstylist and a makeup artist for Sookie, while Eric would just throw on his tux. “It’s really unfair” Sookie pouted to Pam when she was ushered into the guest room to begin the process. Pam just told her to be quiet and do as she was told.
Once Sookie was getting her makeup done, the final step before the gown, Pam left to dress the girls and herself in their matching gowns. She wanted pictures with everyone dressed up and had arranged for a photographer to arrive before Sookie and Eric left. Once Pam and the girls were dressed, they went to Sookie’s room to help her into the dress. The girls had not yet seen the gown and they were awe struck by how beautiful Mama was. The doorbell rang and Pam left Sookie to let the photographer in and set him up to snap pictures of Eric seeing Sookie for the first time (she was a closet romantic).
Eric met Pam downstairs and questioned her actions with the photographer, “Eric, to quote Sookie, you hush.” Then she turned to face the stairs, “Ahh, here come my teacups.”
Eric could not contain his amusement when he saw the girls and Pam had dressed in matching gowns. He gushed over the girls in their dresses but he looked at Pam and mouthed ‘hair’? He had expected them to have fancy hair do’s but Pam explained that they were having their hair and nails done after he and Sookie left. “I purchased salon capes to protect their dresses. I wanted pictures of them with Sookie so I dressed them early.”
Eric heard the door upstairs and looked to the top of the stairs. It was Sookie and she was a vision. His breath stopped when he saw her. The dress was elegant, with sex appeal coming from the low plunge in the front. Her hair was off her neck in a complicated up do. She reached the bottom of the stairs and spun around. ‘Oh! A low plunge in the back means I can have my hand on skin the whole night. God help me keep my hands off of more than her back until we are back in the hotel room’ Eric thought. The photographer had captured Sookie’s descent and Eric’s reaction. Now they were together and staring only at each other. He had reached up to touch her face gently, nothing taking them out of their own bubble. That is, until Pam clapped loudly and asked for more poses. Killjoy.
Once the spell was broken Eric could think again. He walked to the foyer table and grabbed two light blue boxes and handed them to Sookie. Sookie had put on a simple pair of diamond hoop earrings that were her Gran’s. She opened the smaller box to find a beautiful pair of sapphire and diamond earrings.
She just stared at them. Finally, Eric said, “I bought these for you. Will you wear them?”
“Oh Eric, they’re too much, I can’t.”
“You can, please, for me?”
After a moment of Eric’s pleading gaze, she nodded yes and was actually shaking trying to take out her current earrings so Pam came to help. Once the earrings were in, Eric opened the other box and placed the bracelet on her wrist.
Pam deemed Sookie ready for the Oscars and started posing everyone for photos. Once Pam was satisfied with the pictures, Eric handed a suitcase and garment bag to the chauffer and then lead Sookie to the car. Sookie asked about the bags and Eric informed her he planned a surprise stay for them at a hotel near the Oscar after party they were attending. Alone in the back of the limo, Eric turned to Sookie and told her, “You are stunning my love; I won’t be able to keep my eyes off you tonight.” He punctuated his sentiment with a kiss to her lips – a chaste and careful one since Pam would kill him if he ruined her makeup.
“You are just as gorgeous, you won’t be the only one with a problem.”
“Really, so I don’t have to worry about Tom Cruise, or George Clooney or Brad Pitt?”
“Nope, no problem with those men at all.”
“Good, ….wait, those men, are there others that may be a problem?”
She smirked, “Maybe.”
“Sookie” said Eric in his warning tone.
“Um, Christian Bale – OK, I always loved Batman in general, and I loved the movie The Prestige with Hugh Jackman. Oooo and yeah, Hugh Jackman.”
“Are you quite finished?
Nothing but giggles from Sookie.
“Luckily you picked two married actors.”
“Jealous much? I mean, look at you, fans will be throwing themselves at you, and I only mentioned two married actors. I think we’re good.”
“Oh, I’ll tell you when we are good. I think you should be punished for taunting me like this.”
“Maybe later.” She replied with a wink.
‘What the hell, did something in the LA Smog turn her into a vixen? NOW I’m going to be hard all night after hearing that comment.’
Eric decided to keep up the banter up because the red carpet was their next stop and Sookie had continually expressed concern about that part of the evening. Pam had even spent time showing her how to stand and pose in case – but he was counting on the fact that usually companions were left out of the limelight.
“So, what do you have on under that dress anyway? I recall hearing a conversation where you would not use tape.
Sitting up and looking triumphant Sookie replied, “Isobel found me a bra that works instead of just relying on tape. However, to make it work, the seamstress needed to stitch the bra into the dress, so I am going to need help getting out of it.”
‘FUCK! Maybe I would rather her be nervous about the red carpet. I won’t be able to get out of the car if this keeps up.’
Sookie saw Eric gulp at that last statement and decided to stop playing with him. Honestly, the time locked in the room being fancied up with three other women who were full of compliments had bolstered her confidence. She decided to change topics to help him and to better prepare for the scary red carpet. “So tell me again, why I can’t go through the other doors away from the red carpet? Why do I need to walk in with you?”
“Sookie, I want to walk in with you. I know you’re nervous, but since I’m only presenting and not up for an award, the interview time for us will be short. Questions about your dress will dominate the conversation, and I know Pam prepared you for that.”
“And you will handle anything about us?”
“Yes, I’ll tell them you are my love slave and I only let you out tonight to show you off.”
Chuckling, he replied, “Yes, I’ll handle those questions. Now stop fretting.” He said and kissed her nose, “we’re here.”
They emerged from the limo and heard the screaming fans chanting Eric’s name. He held Sookie’s hand as they walked the carpet and towards the cameras. Sookie, plastered on the smile she had practiced with Pam. ‘She is a pain in my ass, but she did help me prepare so thank goodness for Pam.’
They approached the E! Reporter, Ryan Seacrest. Eric wrapped his arm around Sookie as Ryan started the friendly chit-chat. Eric did introduce Sookie as a friend and Ryan asked Sookie who she was wearing. Sookie simply answered Carolina Herrara and Ryan complimented the dress. With a few sentences about Eric’s new film, Bored to Death, they were done. They headed to an area where stars would pose for photos and as they planned, Eric left Sookie to the side and approached the area for pictures.
Uh oh, the photographers didn’t like that, and having already learned her name, they told Eric to call Sookie over. He returned to the side and led her to the photo area. Sookie wore her practiced smile as she walked, remembering to stand tall. They posed for a few shots and she squeezed Eric’s hand hoping he would get the hint and move on, luckily he did.
A few more stops along the way, telling everyone about the dress, making silly chit chat until finally, they reached the last interview; it was Lara Spencer from GMA. Sookie was getting a bit more, well maybe not comfortable but at least accepting of the drill now. She answered her questions about the dress as she had before and the interview was over quickly.
They headed into the theatre and after freshening up, found their seats. Once they were seated, Sookie let out a breath and finally relaxed enough to look around. Until this moment, she had ignored the fact that she was surrounded by stars. Now she was looking around, and oh my God – there was Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Hugh Jackman (Yum! Hey, she can look), and more. She turned to Eric to find he was staring at her while she was looking around in awe. “Enjoying the view?”
“Sweetie, I love the view of you, but give me a break, these are all people I have only seen in movies and they are sitting here, right near me.”
“Fair enough, just don’t ignore your escort.”
She leaned in to kiss him, “Never.”
The show started, and it was quite different than seeing it on TV. Sookie enjoyed herself, especially seeing Eric onstage. Last year, he was the winner of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, so he was presenting the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. When the winner came to the stage (Octavia Spencer for The Help) he had to kiss her. ‘UGH!’ Surely he was just being polite, but still.
He rejoined her and they watched the rest of the show while holding hands. Since the show was live, they had to wait for the commercials to play to those watching on TV. No cameras were on the attendees so they could use the time to chit chat with others around them or watch the entertainment on the stage. The first few commercials, they did meet and greet everyone in the surrounding seats. After they had greeted everyone, Sookie and Eric took the opportunity to just focus on each other when the commercials started. They didn’t know they were attracting an audience. Lafayette Reynolds, who was co-starring in Eric’s upcoming movie, noticed the couple. Being a huge romantic himself, he turned to his husband, Jesus and pointed. Then he grabbed his camera and snapped some photos. “Ima tease Eric later wif these.” Freyda was also watching the couple. She had her eyes on Eric and planned to win his affection while they filmed the upcoming film. She would need to discover the identity of this woman and remove her as an obstacle.
At the end of the show, Eric escorted Sookie out and found their limo. ‘What a zoo!’ Sookie thought. They made it to their hotel and the chauffer handed Eric the key to their room. ‘Hmm, so he was good for more than just driving, seems he had checked us in, and our bags were already in the room.’ “So, how long until we need to be at the party? What party are we attending anyway?”
“We are going to Elton John’s party. We have about an hour, we don’t need to be exactly on time, but we do need to spend some time at the party, and I want to leave early.” He waggled his eyebrows at that statement.
“Elton John, will he actually be there? Oh my god!”
“I tell you I want to leave the party early and waggle my eyebrows, and you focus on Elton John? I’m feeling neglected.”
“Honey, we can leave whenever you want, but Elton John – come on!”
“So, are you changing or going in your gown?”
“Changing, the shorter dress will be much easier.”
“So, is this where I get to undress you?”
“You HELP. Just. Help. You Perv!”
“Yes dear. I’ll play the part of your lady’s maid tonight.”
“Let me call the girls first so I can say goodnight.”
The girls were not nearly ready for bed since they were so excited having seen Eric and Mama on TV! Pam gave Sookie an ‘A’ for posing well and answering the questions with a smile. She did say Sookie needed to work on less fidgeting. “I know Eric thinks you’re adorable when you bite your lip, you should work on that for public events though Sookie.”
Sookie was actually relieved. She knew Pam would give her blunt feedback and it seemed she past Pam’s review. “Now I just need to get through the after party while teetering on those shoes. I cannot believe you talked me into even higher heels for the shorter dress Pam!”
“Sookie, your legs will look fabulous. Now, go get ready. Remember, Eric needs to help; you cannot rip your dress trying to do it on your own. If I didn’t have the teacups, I would be right over to help you out of that dress you know.”
Sookie stood and told Eric to undo the zipper; then he had to unclasp the bra in the back before she could remove the gown. He did as instructed then with regret turned so she could get out of the gown. Unfortunately, the gown pooled at her feet and she needed help stepping out of it so she had to call Eric back. When he turned, he growled at what he saw. Pam had dressed her in garters with pale grey stockings. “I’m going to watch puppies being hurt on TV to get rid of my hard-on now Sookie. I cannot believe we need to go this party. Too many of the cast for the new movie will be in attendance, or believe me, we would ignore it. Can you keep those on with the new dress?” He said that last part with an unmistakable look of lust while pointing from her hips to her feet.
“Sorry Eric, no stockings with the next dress.”
“Then I am removing them now. Sit on the bed.”
“Eric, you’re just going to torture yourself.”
“It’s too late. Come on, get on the bed woman; let me enjoy this.”
Sookie moved to the edge of the bed and Eric kneeled in front of her. Just having him there between her legs and looking up already had her lady bits screaming. ‘He hasn’t even touched me yet. I might explode.’
Picking up her right leg, he unstrapped then removed the shoe, kissing her ankle. He slowly made his way up to the top of the stocking where the garter connected, unhooked the stocking and started slowing rolling it down. He looked up at Sookie; she had relaxed back on the bed on her elbows and had closed her eyes. “Look at me love, watch me.”
He continued to slowly roll the stocking down, taking the opportunity to touch her leg as much as possible. He got to the foot and slid the stocking off. Still watching her, he moved to the left leg, removed her shoe, unhooked the stocking and repeated the slow process. They were both panting from want by the time he was done, yet they knew they had to leave the hotel soon. Eric stood and helped Sookie from the bed. They continued to stare at each other, the room thick with lust until Eric finally broke the spell and nudged Sookie to the bathroom to get ready. He turned on the TV, hoping to find a puppy torture show.
Sookie was glad she had new panties for her second outfit; her desire for Eric had soaked through her current underwear. She cleaned up and put on the new panties, cursing Pam for packing the thong. She finished dressing quickly, but dressing wasn’t enough of a distraction; she was still horny. She left the bathroom and returned to Eric, he was watching the news. She could see he had calmed down. “Maybe I should watch the news, I see you have calmed down, I’m still quite, um, flustered.”
He chuckled and said, “Let’s consider it your punishment for taunting me earlier.”
He walked her to the couch and sat her down. He presented her with another light blue box.
“What? The sapphires were for the gown; these are for this stunning dress that calls for, well, open the box.”
Sookie opened the box to see another pair of earrings, diamonds set in platinum.
She knew better than to argue, so she replaced the sapphires with the new earrings. She thanked Eric with a peck on the cheek; worried that any further contact would cause her to need yet another change of panties.
Eric took the sapphires from Sookie and placed them in a small pouch. Sookie looked at him curiously. “We are going to put these in the hotel safe before we head out.”
Out loud, Sookie replied, “of course.” While thinking, ‘Yes, of course, like I put things in a safe every day. OH MY GOD, I wore earrings that require a hotel safe. I’m in the twilight zone.’
They arrived at the party, posed for pictures, then joined the crowd. There he was, Elton John – in person. Adele – Oh my God! And, uh oh, Hugh Jackman! Eric had to tug Sookie to get her to move, and together they started ‘working’ the room. Sookie gushed at some of the stars. She asked Elton John if Eric could take their picture together, and he agreed!
The party was going well, and Sookie was pleased that she was able to both stay with Eric and chat AND break away from him for a bit and talk to other folks. There were other companions (spouses and guests that did not work in the Hollywood circles) and Sookie found herself talking with them for a while. Jesus Velsasquez was particularly easy to talk to. She was pleased with making this new friend since he would be staying with Lafayette at her B&B occasionally. He did have a job in LA, but luckily he could also work from a laptop and wifi so he traveled with Lafayette when he could. They started making plans of things to do while he was in Pennsylvania and Eric and Lafayette were busy.
Music started and some of the guests headed for the dance floor. Eric interrupted her chat with Jesus for a dance. ‘Thank God I have taken lessons; at least I know what I’m doing on the dance floor.’ They were in the middle of their second dance when Sookie heard a voice ask to cut in. She turned around and it was HUGH JACKMAN! Eric offered her hand to Hugh, and winked at Sookie. The music was fast and they concentrated on the dancing so she didn’t have a chance to talk until the song ended. She thanked him for the dance and he bowed and replied, “The pleasure was mine Sookie, enjoy your evening.”
She returned to Eric, “I know you set that up, thank you. Just so you know, the dance was nice, but you are the only one I’m interested in anymore.”
They continued to make the rounds, and Sookie was still feeling frisky from the hotel room and dancing, so she continued to tease, touch and wink at Eric whenever she could. He loved it, and could not wait to leave. Another hour and they could depart. He watched Sookie as she was chatting again with Jesus; Lafayette had joined them this time. Sookie was laughing full blown out loud. Lafayette could have that effect on anyone. He was so flamboyant, outgoing and he said whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. Confident that Sookie was fine on her own, he turned to Godric to discuss some business related to the movie.
Sookie was enjoying Lafayette’s antics. Even his nickname made her giggle, he told her to call him Lala, like all his friends did. He held nothing back and she was looking forward to spending more time with him while they were filming at her B&B. She knew a bit about the character he was playing in the movie, and had trouble imagining this ball of energy playing the serious character. But, she reminded herself, ‘they are actors; that’s the whole point.’ They started to approach the buffet when Freyda joined them.
“Lafayette, introduce me to your new friend. I have seen her with Eric but have not met her yet.”
“Sure, Freyda, this is Sookie Merlotte. She will be our host while we are filming in Pennsylvania.”
“Oh, now I see the connection to Eric. Here I thought he was dating you, but it’s all for the film. I should have known better than to think you would be Eric’s type. I guess you are here for studio meetings then. Well, it is a pleasure to meet you. I understand from my background information that you have two children?”
“Yes, two girls. You will meet them while you are filming.”
Freyda looked appalled and snorted, “You aren’t going to let them all over the sets, are you? I have certain standards for my working conditions.”
‘Eric did warn me that she was a bitch’. “Freyda, you’re staying in my B&B, the rooms for guests and my private residence are in the same house; you won’t be able to avoid seeing the girls.”
“Still, I hope they are not undisciplined little snots that will be getting in the way or touching things that don’t belong to them.”
“Freyda, I assure you once they meet you they will want nothing to do with you.”
Freyda’s eyes flared with anger. She was the one throwing the insults at this fat country hick. She had set her sights on Eric, and Sookie Merlotte was clearly in the way.
Sookie continued. “Now, if you will excuse us, we were about to grab some dinner.”
“That explains it then.”
“All your extra, um, curves. You really would never fit into LA with that body. I suppose having carried two children would have that effect on the hips. At least I will never know about that since I will never defile my body by carrying baby weight. As long as you’re happy, go on and eat.”
‘What the fuck?’
Before Sookie could respond, Lafayette made an excuse to drag Freyda away from Sookie. Jesus grabbed Sookie’s hand while she shook with anger. She held her head high for a few moments but knew she would not last any longer and eventually asked Jesus to walk her to the ladies’ room. Jesus purposely walked her further away from the party to a more remote ladies’ room. He waited outside while he could hear her crying. She emerged about 15 minutes later, puffy eyes but as cleaned up as she could be.
“I don’t know if I can go back in there Jesus.”
“You can. I’ll hold your hand, and you’ll hold you head high and ignore that bitch. Meanwhile, we can find ways for you to add fats and sugars to everything she eats while she is at the B&B.”
She laughed a bit and took Jesus’ hand.
Twenty minutes had passed and Eric had been looking for Sookie. When he saw her return with Jesus he knew something was wrong. He approached her, and Jesus whispered “Ask her later Eric, for now, you should make excuses to leave.” Eric nodded at Jesus in thanks.
Holding her hand, they made one last round through the room. Eric was near frantic to know what had happened. Gone was the flirty, fun Sookie. She had her fake smile plastered on her face. When they approached Godric and Freyda to say goodnight, he felt Sookie stiffen. ‘Dammit, I saw Freyda talking to her, what did she say?’ He had now reached the end of his patience and quickly headed for the doors, forgoing any further chit chat.
Sookie sat in the car and looked out the window in silence. Giving her space, he sat stewing and wondering what had happened. Once in their hotel room, Sookie immediately went to the bathroom, changed into a nightshirt and cleaned up for bed. When she emerged, Eric was sitting on the couch and asked her to join him. “Eric, I am really tired, I just want to sleep.”
“NO? Eric, I know we talked and teased about having fun when we got back to the room, but now, I really am just not in the mood.”
“Really, you think I said no to you sleeping because I wanted to fool around? I’m concerned about whatever happened at the party, I want to understand why you’re so upset. Do you think so little of me, or my feelings for you?”
Sookie looked to the ground, knowing she had been rude. “Eric, I’m sorry, I, I just don’t know how I feel about anything, and I just cannot function at the moment.”
“What did she say to you?”
Sookie’s eyes widened. She really never wanted to think about it again. She just shook her head while the tears started to form. “I can’t, I just want to forget.”
Eric was relentless. “I’ll call Jesus and Lafayette if you don’t tell me.”
She gasped, he was serious. She closed her eyes and counted to ten in her head. She wanted to spit back at him to mind his own business. Instead, she reminded herself that she was visibly hurt, and because he cared for her, he wanted to know why and how to fix it.
Eric waited until she opened her eyes and she agreed, “Ok.”
He picked her up and sat back down on the couch. Sookie sat on his lap while she told him about the Freyda encounter. How she got digs in about how Eric would never date someone like Sookie, her comments about the girls, and finally about Sookie being fat.
‘I’ll kill her. Every time I make progress with Sookie’s self confidence someone has to come in and ruin it.’
“Sookie” he started, but she stopped him.
“Eric, I told you as you asked. It is what it is, and I can’t make her change her words or opinions. Right now, I’m hurt and angry, and really don’t want to spend any more time on Freyda. Honestly, I just want to shut down and not think.”
Knowing he could not push her any further, he acquiesced and stood, holding her, and placed her in the bed under the covers. “I’ll be with you in a moment.”
Eric went into the bathroom to get ready for bed and returned to snuggle with Sookie. He was on his back and Sookie was draped on top of him. He was rubbing circles over her back while she smoothed a hand over his chest. The evening had started out wonderfully, and ended horribly. ‘I had planned to tell Sookie my secret tonight; that I loved her. I wanted it to be a joyous evening, and now it’s gone to hell. Will we ever get a break? Maybe my world is not for her. Maybe I’m being selfish wanting her. I’ll talk with Pam about this later. I don’t want to move forward if we really should not be together. But, how can I ever let her go?’
Sookie was thinking to herself as well. ‘Freyda was a bitch, but she made me realize that I’ll probably never fit into Eric’s world. Am I strong enough to deal with the likes of Freyda over and over again? Doesn’t Eric deserve someone who he doesn’t have to coddle and defend? Maybe I should cut our trip short and return to Pennsylvania tomorrow. It will only be a few days before Eric and Pam join us, and the time apart can help me evaluate what is fair to Eric. If we cannot be together, maybe we should end it now. But, oh God, how can I ever let him go?’ Sookie started crying. Eric was surprised it had taken this long. He had resolved himself that she was a crier, and while it killed him to hear and feel her tears, as usual, he let her cry it out. She eventually fell asleep while sobbing and Eric continued to hold her protectively until he was gone as well.