Eric n' Sooks Summer of 69 One Shot Writing Contest
Title: The Last Lemon Scented Summer
Pen Name: BookWormBelle04
Characters: Eric and Sookie
Disclaimer: All characters belong to the wonderful Charlaine Harris. I just borrowed them for a moment. All in good lemony fun.
Thank you krismom for being an awesome beta and helping me through this!
Lemons. Yellow. Juicy. Sour. Their look. Their smell. My favourite smell. The lemon. It's still. Lying between our two bodies. Warm bodies. The last lemon - at this realization my eyes well. The dying grass reaches as the salt water begins to fall. We're lying on top of grass, amidst the flowers, the songs of love. Around us the muggy Louisiana night falls. The grey clouds. Those poor stars. Their beauty is hidden. The man in the moon peaks out as us. Him and me. Lying next to him and next to our lonesome lemon. It's silent. Even the music from the record player is so low. It's euphoric. His gaze is lost in the sky but he knows I'm crying. One, two, three, of my fingers are squeezed gently by his big soft hand. He's letting me know he's still there. He's always there. I'm somewhere else. My eyes are pointed toward the sky but they're lost at sea. The sea of grey. The hidden stars. Tumultuous waves of rain clouds. Another drop of salt water refreshes the grass below my head. His eyes are on me, studying the water marks on my temple, the lost look in my eye. I snap back to reality. Turning my head to look back at him, another tear falls to the ground. He gives me that crooked smirk of his and a little wink to top it off. Even if I didn't want to, I can't help but give him a giggle, breaking the thirty minutes of silence together. The silence of the lonely truth. I reach in the back of my mind for something to remember. I look for our firsts.
Cold. Dark. Smokey. I knew this would happen. My brother never behaved. Amidst the smoke, the smell of beer and liquor, I encounter a tinge of something magical. While I embark on my search for Jason, Jim Morrison stares at me from the picture on the purple wall. I smile back. That magical smell is back again. Stronger. I've almost forgot about Jason – that is, until I hear his drunken yells. Smack! I can almost guarantee that was Jason's hand meeting some woman's bottom. My eyes found him, but the rest of my mind is lost in trying to find that sweet smell. Sweet. Yellow and Juicy. Sour. I've found it. Behind the liquor soaked bar is the source of that magic. A lemon.
"It's about damn time. Are you here for him?" It's the voice from the phone. Still watching the lemon get sliced, hearing Jimi Hendrix's guitar in the background, I barely heard the man. My eyes went forward then up. And up again. Tall. Blonde. Hard blue eyes. He sliced another lemon.
"Hello! Are you here for him?" he asked again.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Yes, I am here for him."
"Good, please, leave with him now."
"Well, I beg your pardon but I am a lady and I am not the one you are having a problem with. I will not tolerate any rudeness." His eyebrow raises.
"Jesus, just get him out." He grabs another lemon.
"I love lemonade in the summertime."
"This isn't the kind of lemonade you're going to wanna drink tonight. Listen Miss, I called you so that you could relieve me of my babysitting duties, not to have a drink."
I looked up at him. His eyes and mine actually met this time. The first time. He's torn, his eyes told me. Curious, impressed, angry. I ignore them. My mind tells me there's something more.
"Jason, get up." As I bend to try and lift him on my shoulder, the bartender had come around to help. He wasn't gentle with Jason, but I can't say he didn't deserve it.
"The beat up yellow '54 beetle."
As the bartender threw Jason into the backseat, I noted every muscle in his arms and chest. He was wearing a plain t-shirt. Red. Not too small, but snug. Our eyes met again. His still hard and cold. Standing up straight, next to each other, I take in his height, 6'4" or 6'5". Almost a whole foot taller than my 5'6". His hair is long, shoulder length. He smells like lemons. I'm getting lost in him.
"Yes, well thanks for helping him out."
"I've got to get back to work," back to the lemons, I thought. "Don't let him come back here again."
"I'm his sister, not his mother," I retorted.
"Goodnight," he said now in his softest voice, nodding his head ever so slightly.
I slid into the driver's seat watching him walk away, wondering about him. Mysterious man with lemons. Getting lost into his silken hair, he turns, he locks into my gaze. His eyes are so soft now, matching his soft Goodnight – that mysterious man with lemons.
The waves of grey in the sky are ready to burst. Ready to pour their rain onto us, in this, the summer of love. It's remained silent since my last giggle. I'm smiling now though, thanking God my dumbass brother went back to that bar in Shreveport, getting so drunk that I had to go pick him up again. I scoot closer, closer to the lemon, closer to Eric's warm body. I grab his hand in mine. He moves gently, leaning to kiss the side of my forehead. Still a word not spoken, just his occasional crooked smile and my new wide smile. He's so close. I can't bear it. Searching – I go back into my head looking for something else, something more appropriate to remember on this grey August night.
Pit. Pat. Pit. The rain is falling, no, pounding, on the roof of my broken down home; the home that belonged to my beloved Gran. There's the occasional roar of the thunder and the flashes of lightening that follow. My hair is down, soaking wet, clothes clinging to my body, following every contour. Eric and I were out on our fourth date when we got caught in this ravaging storm. The first one this May. I'm sitting somewhat uncomfortably on the edge of my bed while he dries off in the bathroom. From the first moment I met him, I knew there was something else. That mysterious man with lemons behind the bar. His eyes were so cold and hard, but I knew there was something behind them. Behind those icy blue eyes was a lost but kind soul. His parents emigrated here from Sweden in 1944; she didn't even know she was pregnant. An immigrant family trying to raise a child while a World War is at it's climax aren't the best conditions. Their beginning as a family was tiresome and hard and it only got worse from there. He moved as far south as he could, as soon as he could. So much raced through my mind at that moment. Thinking of the little bit of his background I was able to get out of him tonight. His usual sarcastic humor disappeared the moment I asked about where he came from. He became vulnerable. This, I just could not let go.
Still wet, I walked towards the bathroom door. Right foot. Left foot. I nudged the door open more. The rain water was dripping from the ends of his hair down his sculpted back following every contour. He was completely naked, using my terry cloth towel to dry off is milky white skin. Three, four, five, seconds passed before he realized I was there. When he saw my eyes, he knew. He walked over to me, dropping the towel in the process, and locked his lips on mine. I open his mouth with my tongue; he has to know I want so much more. He lifts me up and as I wrap my legs around his waist, we gave each other a look that lit the room on fire. Our breath smelled like lemonade, we each had a few at dinner. I could taste the lemons on his mouth and the taste of that sour citrus fruit exploded between us. He lays me on the bed, more gently than I expect. He stared into my eyes as he took off my skirt, kissing my feet, calves, and inner thigh on his way back up to retrieve my red lace underwear. I sit up and remove my shirt. As he kisses my hip he slips two fingers inside me. I was already wet. He is gentle, kneading, soothing, stirring. His kisses are gentle and move up toward my face. He removed his fingers and placed my head so gently in between his two hands. The thunder roared. We looked at each other, still trying to figure the other one out, and there, inside me. He was so warm, so big, so gentle with every move. I let out a pleased gasp and he smiled his crooked little smile, a wink to top it off. I grabbed his face closer to mine and kissed his lips as tenderly as I could. I tilted his head so that I could reach his ear. My tongue and teeth examine the lobe and I whispered for him to take me completely. I was so nervous, we hardly knew anything about each other, but what we had was surreal. My thighs began to tremble. He lifted me with him, he's on his knees now, holding me close, hands on my ass guiding me up and down, harder but with the same sweet speed, he whispered back to me that he'd be glad to. The lightning struck. His hands moved up my lower back as I arched for a better angle. His lips were on the taunt curve above my collarbone. He sped up. We were staring at each other now in perfect honesty and after about forty minutes we finished in unison, though we didn't budge. We held each other, just staring, letting the moment be. I am his. He is mine. We are ours. He finally lifted me up with him, set me gently on my feet, and placed a robe around my shoulders. That crooked smile, a wink, and he says: "Let's go make some lemonade."
I let out a thunderous laugh at the memory, head rolling in the grass. He looks at me. Confused. My tears are flowing freely now as I laugh. I put my weight on my forearm, body facing him, looking him in the eye. He mirrors my movements. I'm still laughing. Still crying. He puts his finger to my mouth, and replaces it with a quick kiss. It's getting darker now. The man in the moon is no longer peaking behind that grey cloud. He's out in the open, amongst the stars, watching our every move. He looks so sad. The record player is playing Dizzy by Tommy Roe. That's how I feel right now. Dizzy.
"I wish it would just rain already." His voice is so soft. I love every minute he speaks. I use my finger to trace his face. He's smiling and making funny faces as I do so. We're laughing now. The air around us is lighter. Less somber.
"This is a nice night." I say finally.
"A bit warm." He's avoiding what he knows I want him to say. We spend a few minutes staring into one another's eyes. Looking at every freckle. I lose every game of thumb war. We laugh as if we had never laughed before. We talk about the war. We talk about my love for Jim Morrison. He mentions how he wishes he could play like Jimi. We talk about Neil Armstrong and his landing on the moon. That poor man in the moon, no longer alone. Eric was fascinated. He talks about his desire to fly. It would make seeing the world so much easier and safer he says. He laughs at how I squeeze lemons when making our morning lemonade. He talks about how he hates working at the bar and hates seeing Jason's drunken ass try to tell all the ladies he's a free love kind of guy. We talk for hours. We laugh for minutes. And I cry for seconds. After a few moments of silence pass, I pick my brain again. I find the perfect one.
His house was small, old, broken down. It was as tidy as I'd expect it to be considering he's a single businessman. The furniture was colourful, very floral, very "in". I didn't expect that either. The tall swede is full of surprises. It's been three months since I first met this man and on this hot June day, I never want it to end. Every moment I've spent with him, even the rocky first few, have been magical. We're in the habit of seeing each other every day now. Before he goes to open the bar. Before or after I get off of work. I surely spend a lot of time in bars now. I think about Sam, my best friend and boss. I think about Merlotte's and how I'm please to have the day off to spend here at Eric's. He's been in the kitchen for a while now, I realize. I should have known. I could smell it the second the knife hit the peel. Sweet. Bitter. Magical. I run into the kitchen.
"I want to help!" He puts the knife down, smiling that crooked smile, and waving me to come over. He takes a seat in the chair by the breakfast bar. I slice the lemon in half. Picking one half up I put it on top of the juicer, I squeeze as hard as I can and twist it. Eric laughs.
"Your nose. It wrinkles when you do that."
"No it doesn't," I counter. He gets up and walks toward me. Kissing my nose, he picks up the knife and cuts the other half into little wedges.
"I bet you can't eat this whole wedge without making your nose wrinkle." A sly grin. Easy on the face.
"Oh yeah right. Lemon schlemon." I picked the wedge out of his hand and placed it to my lips trying my hardest to control the muscles in my face and he begins to bellow.
"It barely touched your tongue and your nose was so contorted!" He claps in amusement.
"Well fine! Let's see you do it then. Master of everything."
"Well, thank you for the nice title. I do appreciate it." His wink. He grabs another wedge, puts the whole thing in his mouth and his face doesn't move. Not one muscle moved. He moved it around with this tongue and bit down. Every muscle around his mouth tightened as his lips made a little guppy fish face. His eyes widened and watered a little. His nostrils flared. I couldn't help but laugh. This tall, very manly looking blonde hair blue-eyed Swede has the face of a child. The face you see a child get when he has just received the most hideous sweater from his great aunt. My laughter wails through the house as he spit the lemon in his hand.
"Ha ha, really funny." He said, half crooked smile this time.
"You should have seen it Eric! You're face did the funniest thing all at once!" I was grabbing my stomach now, still laughing, I had tears flowing down my cheeks. He rolled his eyes.
"I'm still the master of everything. Especially kissing." He picked up a wedge as I wiped my eyes, rubbed it all over his lips and then he grabbed my face. His lips met mine. The sweetness of his skin mixed with the sour juice of the lemon made for quite the experience. I quite literally got weak in the knees; he had to hold me up as warmth rushed to my center. His tongue entered my mouth and I grabbed onto him and followed his every move. I jumped up wrapping my legs around his waist as he cleaned off a spot on the breakfast bar. I ripped off his shirt as he ripped off mine. I lay back, inviting him to do with me what he pleases. He unbuttoned his bell-bottoms and my pants were off in a flash. I poured the little bit of lemon juice I managed from my pathetic effort onto my body, my breasts and stomach, sticky with lemon juice, shimmering in his eyes. Eric licked every bit of it off finishing with a kiss. Just after his lips met mine, he entered me. Every second was explosive. Every thrust sent chills up my spine. I moaned so hard I thought his neighbors would hear. His gracious plenty touched on every nerve, igniting each one with pleasure. I sat up for a better position. I wanted to watch him thrust. He picked up a lemon wedge and placed one half in his mouth, I took the other half in mine and we sucked. We sucked all the juice we could, hips and lips wild with passion, and as the fruit yielded its last sour drop, we finished with a juicy bang.
"Yeah, the Master of Kising, if you say so." He laughed and kissed my forehead. My eyes. My nose. My lips again. His nose wrinkled and I giggled.
"Puss Puss," he kissed my lips again, heading toward the basket of lemons. He tossed a whole one at me I took in the smell.
"You will always be associated with these, you know that right? Every time I see or smell a lemon, I will think of you," I enlightened him.
"And my gracious plenty!" He added. We laughed and juiced the rest of the lemons for a refreshing afternoon drink.
I'm sobbing worse than ever before. The dying grass is thankful. I take in the moon, the man in the moon, the stars. I take it all in. Through my nose, my eyes, my skin. I wish it would just rain already, I thought. The rain only enhances the senses. I look him in the eyes. His sweet, blue eyes.
"Sookie!" Sam called me from the door on the back porch. "Are you okay? You've been out there with that letter for an hour."
I look to my left. He's gone. Only a lemon a remains. My vision of Eric has vanished to the dust and dirt below me. I look to my right. A wrinkled piece of paper lies. The last letter. It's been four months since I last heard from him. Since this letter arrived in a box with a lemon. My lemon. His lemon. Our lemon. Four months is a long time for those in Vietnam. I grabbed the letter and the lemon, I placed them to my heart and I just cried.
"Sookie," Sam is in front of me now. "Let's go inside. I'll make you some tea."
He lifts me up and helps me inside. He doesn't say another word. I lie on the couch, wrapped in my favourite blanket. In his favourite blanket. The tea just sits there, getting colder as the minutes pass. I sit in front of a TV that isn't turned on, dazed into another time. A time when there was no war. A time when people wanted peace. A time when I had Eric in my arms. All the memories I had of him were rushing back now. Some nights were better than others; this was a tough one. Sam sits with me in the room for a while before he gets up and kisses my head good-bye.
"I'll see you tomorrow at work Sookie." He is a good friend.
I hold the lemon as tight as I can. The soft, old, lemon. There is no magical smell now. Just a soggy, spongy memory. The letter, still unopened, is in my other hand staring me in the eye. Not tonight, I tell myself. Another night. A nicer night. I close my eyes, hoping it's all just a dream, hoping that when I wake up Eric will be there to take me to work, wish me a great day, and say those words we've never said. Those words. My eyes tighten, holding the tears in, and before I fall asleep I whisper: I love you.