Eric took Sookie’s books and carried them like a gentleman. After a soft kiss on her cheek he walked with her to her car, slowly, so as to savor every moment with her. Sookie’s heart was beating fast the whole time, and he took courage from that. He’d debated for weeks about whether to see her or not, and Pam was still upset with him, and he with her. This visit to Sookie wouldn’t alleviate the problems he was having with his obstreperous child, but it couldn’t be helped. He loved Sookie too much to let her go, particularly now that she knew of his love without shadow of a doubt.
“It’s very nice to see you, Eric,” Sookie said shyly as they walked through the LSU campus.
“I missed you, Sookie,” he ventured to say. Maybe this would be okay.
“I did too,” she confessed, and Eric felt immediately better. This was a change from her usual procedure. She usually hunkered down back into her shell like a little turtle. Her next statement surprised him even more. “I wasn’t sure if I could come to Fangtasia and see you. Jessica said that Pam is very mad with me.”
“She’s not mad at you, she’s mad at me. In any case you shouldn’t let it bother you. Pam needs to understand that you’re important to me too.” Eric was adamant about that. His child would learn one way or another.
Sookie took a deep breath. She understood the bond between maker and child and didn’t want to come between Eric and Pam. She had no way to avoid it because Eric wanted to be with her as much as she wanted to be with him. It was also none of her business.
“Are you going straight home?” Eric asked walking closer, their arms brushing as they walked.
Sookie’s heart gave a leap at that question. It was really Eric’s house, so the question could have been interpreted as her going straight to THEIR home. “Yes,” she swallowed. “Ever since Tara and Jesús were killed Lafayette has been living with me. He’s changed.”
Eric arched an eyebrow but didn’t voice his opinion. He knew Lafayette probably better than Sookie, and having him living in his house, the house he’d bought for Sookie, rubbed him the wrong way. However, at least Sookie wasn’t alone. What to do, what to do?
Sookie felt his hesitance. “Look, Eric, I know it’s your house and I know that you’ve been more than generous letting me live there. I can’t buy it back from you now. I have a little money that my brother gave me from the sale, but you put so much work into it…” Sookie stopped talking abruptly because she had found herself without her companion.
Eric was standing a few paces back, shaking his head. “It’s yours Sookie. Remember what I said to you, about us, about me.”
She nodded. She remembered everything. It was obvious that Eric was having a hard time saying it again. Could she say it instead? “Thank you,” she said and extended her hand. He put his large hand in hers and felt her squeeze it reassuringly. “I love you, Eric.”
He stopped walking again. She looked up and his face was blank with shock. He really hadn’t expected her to say it. Then he frowned. “But…?”
Sookie frowned too. “But what?”
“But what about Bill?” he pressed.
“Oh! Ah… Bill. You were right about him.” Sookie paused, gathering the courage necessary to tell Eric what she’d wanted to say for so long. Eric waited patiently beside her, wisely keeping silent and letting Sookie come to her own conclusions.
“You said Bill had his chance, and you were right. I don’t like some of the things you did, but ultimately you did them to keep me safe. Bill… well, Bill not so much. He did hurt me on purpose. I honestly can’t believe I kept forgiving him.”
“You were in love,” Eric said, understanding the feeling better now.
“I was, but it shouldn’t have blinded me. Ultimately he’s no good for me. I don’t want to talk about him anymore. Can we change the subject?” she asked, feeling uncomfortable. She’d told Eric more than she’d planned.
“Let’s talk about me,” he said with a wide smile that made her laugh for the first time in a very long time.
“Okay,” she giggled and they began walking again, even slower than before.
“How handsome do you find me naked? I find you unbelievably desirable.” The smile that graced his features remained. He was unable to stop and felt good about that new development. Giddy. That was the word he was looking for. She made him giddy with delight.
“You are like a god, Aegir,” she joked, remembering his time swimming with gators. Then she started laughing harder. “I can honestly say you were fun while you were drunk, even though I was scared for you. I’m so glad I found you. I never imagined I’d find you swimming back there.”
Eric chuckled, remembering how much he’d wanted her to join him, but then he sobered up. “I felt very lonely afterwards. I would have very much liked for you to remain by my side until I fell asleep.”
“I was a little bit scared of you. I know better now,” Sookie said and squeezed his hand again.
“When are you free? I would like to spend some time with you,” he asked, knowing now that she would welcome his advances… as long as they were slow and subtle.
“I have math tomorrow night, but I’m free Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The bad part is those are your busy days, aren’t they?”
“Don’t worry, Sookie. I always find a way. Would you go out with me on Friday? I don’t recall the last time I watched a movie.” Eric watched Sookie intently, waiting for her answer. Surely a movie wouldn’t be too bad.
“I’d love to,” she answered and flushed. Even in the faint lights scattered over the campus he could see he had an effect on her.
They reached Sookie’s car and were both reluctant to leave the other. Eric understood, however, that it would have to be that way so that Sookie wouldn’t feel trapped. This time she was the one choosing him. All she needed was a little room to prove to herself that it was the right choice.
“Thank you for… coming to see me,” Sookie said, not quite sure what to thank him for because she felt grateful about so many things. “I really am very happy to see you. Are you really taking the chemistry class, or did you sneak in?”
Eric laughed for the second time that night. “I really am enrolled in the class. Might as well learn something.”
“This is going to sound very high-school, but would you like to be my lab partner?” Sookie asked, although she wasn’t sure if Eric would get the reference to high school.
“It would be my pleasure,” he answered, bringing her hand up to his lips and kissing it softly. The feel of her warm skin sent a rush of memories through his mind, and he filed them all away, each single one meant to be cherished.
Sookie put her free hand on his cheek, the tips of her fingers caressing soft strands of hair on his temple. Eric looked up, asking her a silent question. Her nod was almost imperceptible, but it was there. Slowly he got closer to her, keeping all his instincts in check and his hands away from her body. He bent over her small form and brushed her lips with his, waiting for Sookie to make the next move. She caught his bottom lip between hers, then the top. She was kissing him.
Eric pulled away first, not wanting to ruin the kiss with everything else he wanted to do to her, like ravage her in the middle of the LSU parking lot. He allowed himself one touch, one caress over her cheek. “I will pick you up on Friday.”
“Until Friday,” she confirmed and smiled radiantly.
He took the memory of that smile and filed it away to cherish later, along with all the other memories of their time together.