Eric was indecisive. He had never bothered with taking anyone out for a date, but knew that Sookie had been on plenty of them with Compton. He wanted to look good but not out of place, and his current clothes ensemble, though it looked good, to him it looked too formal.
Ginger passed by the doorway to his office in Fangtasia and he called to her. She entered quickly, thinking she was needed for something other than an innocent question. Eric stopped her with a hand in front of him before she could get too close.
“I’m going to a movie, Ginger. Is this outfit too formal?” he asked her, knowing that Pam would have been a better one to ask, but not wanting to open that particular can of worms.
Ginger took in his light gray cashmere sweater and dark gray wool pants. His hair was slicked back and his shoes were shining like mirrors. She shook her head. “If you change into a pair of jeans and a different pair of shoes you’ll fit in better. It looks like you’re going to the theatre.”
Eric thanked her and took her advice, bemused that Ginger knew how people dressed to go to a theatre. As he changed into a pair of blue jeans he felt Pam’s presence at the door. She didn’t cross the threshold. She wasn’t even visible. “Pam! I can hear you breathing,” he mocked her.
Pam entered then, studying her maker intensely. She had an idea that he might be getting ready to go see Sookie. She knew he had disappeared the night before last to go see her, if her scent on him was anything to go by. It was faint, but it was there. However, she was trying to make amends and get back on Eric’s good graces. She had already made too many mistakes.
“You will ask where I am going. Go on,” he pressed, wanting to get the conversation over with already.
“Where are you going, Master?” she asked, making her voice sound properly deferential and docile.
“I am taking Sookie out on a date. Now it’s your turn to tell me why it’s a bad idea.”
“You missed her,” Pam said, knowing this was a battle she would not win. “I understand.”
Eric looked at Pam and studied her just as she’d done to him. Her disapproval was not as rampant as it had been before. There was almost a feeling of resignation coming from his unruly child. Perhaps there was a glimmer of hope.
“She’s important to me, Pam. I wish you could find one that you could love like I love Sookie. Then, maybe, it would be easier for you to understand what it’s like to miss that person so thoroughly.”
“I love you, Eric,” she said, and was quick to add, “Not in that way, of course, but I would miss you if you were gone. You know that.”
“All I ask is for your understanding. I don’t need your approval, just understand that I need Sookie and I love her. She loves me too and in the end she will be mine again. But she needs time and I am willing to give it to her. We have both been through a lot and need some time to get to know each other.” Eric walked closer to Pam and put his hands on her shoulders. “It doesn’t mean I don’t love you or that I will leave you.”
Pam looked up and gave him a small smile. “I do understand,” she said again, and accepted his kiss on her forehead.
Eric left Fangtasia in his brand new Corvette. He preferred silence for now, getting lost in thoughts of Sookie: what would she wear, which perfume would she choose, what would they talk about, would they kiss again? At the thought of kissing he felt the first stirrings of his lust. Good thing Ginger recommended the jeans. They covered more than the slacks he’d had on.
But he couldn’t keep his mind from wandering, as it had done every night since he recovered his memories. He remembered the way Sookie had stood on her porch, opening her arms, calling to him, the embrace that followed. Then the kiss. She had kissed him, not the other way around. He was aware that she had fallen in love with a part of him that he didn’t like to show, a vulnerable part that could be easily broken, that she had indeed broken by pushing him away. Thankfully the bond he shared with Sookie kept him from losing his sanity, as he could feel how much she still cared for him and missed him. He had expected to break when he saw her again, but took the chance anyway.
Sookie had surprised him instead, by readily accepting his offer of friendship and then reminding him that she loved him. She had said it, the word spilling from her lips easily, because she felt it truly. He felt it too, but perhaps he was more of a coward than her.
The house he had bought for Sookie was quiet when he arrived. The top levels were dark, and the lights were on in the kitchen and living room. What he wouldn’t give to make this house completely his, spending his days in the cubby with Sookie nearby. “One day,” he said to himself as he emerged from the car.
Eric rang the doorbell, not wanting to push his luck by using his keys to the door. If he was going to do this, he was going to do it right. In turn he was rewarded with a radiant Sookie opening the door and smiling widely, clearly happy to see him. She reached for his hand and pulled him inside.
“Come in for a minute. I just have to get my purse,” she said, sounding excited. Who knew that the prospect of going on a date with him would make her so happy? “I’m sorry. My brain is just scattered today,” she called, running up the stairs.
Eric looked around, inhaling deeply, taking in Sookie’s scent and his own, which permeated a certain chair in the living room. He smiled to himself, knowing why their mingled scents had remained on that particular piece of furniture. The only other person he smelled in the house was Lafayette, but he wasn’t in. Sookie’s generous nature with her friends would be the death of him. He only hoped Lafayette had mended his ways and wasn’t selling drugs out of Sookie’s house, because Eric would eat his heart. For now Lafayette was keeping Sookie company in her grief, and he was feeling magnanimous. He would allow Lafayette to remain.
Sookie ran downstairs, missing the last step and landing on Eric. She was grateful for his vampire reflexes, because she would have done a face plant for sure. What was it about tonight that had her all tied up in knots? Something about sitting in a darkened movie theatre with Eric was incredibly exciting, as normal as such a thing sounded.
The truth was she had missed him, so seeing him was a true pleasure. She was hoping they would be able to talk, pair the physical attraction with what she had started to see from him while he lost his memories. She wanted that sweet man back… and look at that! There he was, hugging her tight and planting a soft his on her hair.
They drove to Shreveport talking about movies, the old ones that Eric knew best. He confessed that he hadn’t had a chance to watch many movies ever since he’d become sheriff of his area.
“So you didn’t watch ‘Titanic,’ or ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’?” Sookie asked, watching as Eric’s face broke into a smile.
“I’ve heard references to them, but haven’t had the pleasure,” he answered, hoping it would give her a few ideas.
Indeed it did. “Then we’ll have to make a date of it. You have to watch the new classics!” Sookie smiled, knowing exactly what he was doing, but not really minding having something else to look forward to. Having him near was all she wanted.
They arrived at the packed movie theatre, and decided on a movie that had been showing for a few weeks already. Hopefully it wouldn’t be too full. Sookie was too nervous and excited to eat any popcorn, so they went straight to where their movie was showing and sat at the very back. Eric was immediately surprised. He’d never been in a theatre with reclining seats, arms that could be moved out of the way, and he certainly enjoyed the extra room for his legs between the seat rows.
Sookie giggled when the first thing he did was to lift the seat arm between them out of the way and put his arm over her shoulder to pull her closer. She settled in to watch the previews, happy that Eric seemed to be enjoying himself as much as she was. She told him so and he simply smiled at her adoringly, his eyes sparkling in the low light.
The movie was an unexpected treat. Even though it was an action packed thriller, Sookie couldn’t remember the last time she laughed so much. It had a lot to do with her companion, of course, making silly remarks and not quite getting into the spirit of make-believe.
“Notice that the good guys always have perfect aim and the bad guys can never shoot worth a damn,” he whispered into her ear, sending a sweet thrill through her skin. “You’d think the bad guys would be better, having more practice.”
Sookie giggled delighted. “Maybe the good guys are bad asses who like to shoot a lot, or practice a lot.”
“I think the good guys are secretly bad guys. Makes you wonder why the bad guys are after them. Perhaps the good guys are just putting up a good front.”
“You would know, huh? You’re a good guy who likes to pretend you’re a bad guy.”
“You know me too well, my Sookie,” he said and planted a soft kiss on her temple.
Eric and Sookie waited until all the credits had rolled through before leaving the coziness of their hideout within the theatre. They walked leisurely back to the car, holding hands and not saying much, each enjoying the quiet time together and once again finding it difficult to say goodbye.
Eric opened the car door for Sookie, stealing a quick kiss from her lips as she passed in front of him to get in the passenger seat. She got another sweet thrill as she sat on the soft leather. She waited patiently, watching as he sauntered around the front hood of the car, obviously showing off for her benefit. Not that there was much need for that: she knew exactly what that nice soft sweater and the designer jeans were covering. Still, she was glad he was willing to take it slow. Her poor heart needed some time to mend.
The ride home was spent making plans about future outings, talking about not much at all. It had been an intense month or so for them, so simple pleasures were in order. Sookie was highly disappointed when Eric turned into her long driveway.
“Lafayette’s home,” she muttered, seeing the fancy car her friend drove. God only knew how he could afford such a machine. In any case, her spirits plummeted now that her night with Eric was over, even as she knew that they would see each other again on Monday during their chemistry class. She smiled at that thought as she turned to him.
“What are you smiling about?” Eric asked, smiling back. Her smile was contagious.
“We have chemistry on Monday. Did you do your homework?” She laughed right after she asked the question, watching as Eric’s smile faded into a look of annoyance. “How are you supposed to learn if you don’t do your homework?”
An idea lit his face back up. “Maybe I should come over your house on Sunday and we can have a study date.”
Sookie leaned over and Eric met her halfway, letting her place a soft kiss on his mouth, her hand caressing his face. “Okay,” she said, then gave herself over to his slow kiss.
Just like before, he was the first one to break the kiss. Sookie felt a little disappointed but gave him points for pulling away, even if his eyes told her he wanted more. Much more. One of them had to be the stronger one.
Eric walked her to her door and kissed her lightly before letting her go inside. Even if he wanted nothing less than to make love to his Sookie, the kisses they had shared were like sips of water to a man dying of thirst: not nearly enough, but he’d take whatever he could get. It would be worth it.
Eric drove away and Sookie went to bed, neither of them aware of the dark shadows that had watched them from the tree line bordering the house.
A/N: I just wanted to say one little something. I know one can spell theatre as theater, and in the U.S. the latter is more popular, but if I did I am sure that my former Intro to Theatre professor would show up at my door and take away the “A” he gave me all those years ago. I think I’d rather keep it 😀