And here's the first chapter of the sequel to The Expert! I hope everyone likes and keeps reviewing it! Keep it coming, your fantastic feedback for The Expert is what got the chapters up so quickly!
January 1993: Stockholm
"Sorry Belinda, I have things to do tomorrow. Maybe you can stay over next weekend. My little sister is coming by, so I don't think it would be right if you were here." As if Pam would give a shit. At 15, I was fairly certain she was following in my footsteps to a tee. I'd run into her at a bar a time or two in the last few months.
"Will you call me?" She scrambled, looking for her underwear.
"Uh, yea, yea, I'll call you sometime next week." Or not. Who the hell doesn't give blowjobs, but is more than happy to let someone fuck them doggystyle. Girls. Belinda was hot, but the blowjob was a non-negotiable. She had huge breasts, the kind that were hot now, but were heading for ugly damn quick. She wrapped her arms around me, and I slipped her some tongue to get her out the door. She giggled on her way out, and I locked it behind her.
When she was gone, I pulled on my usual uniform, which consisted of ripped jeans, a white tee, and a flannel button down, threw my hair back in a ponytail and cranked some Nirvana. I loved the American Grunge scene. About ten minutes later, there was a persistent knock on my door.
"I said I'd call you." I yelled. The knocking continued. After a few minutes, I answered. "Did you forget something?"
The face I saw was one I hadn't seen for a year. "Ingrid."
"Eric." She looked like a gypsy and dressed the part. She always had. Long dark hair, huge brown eyes. She was tiny, petite. Looking at her made me hard. Instantly. Always.
"What are you doing here?" We'd cut ties when she got engaged. Before that we had a long standing bootycall agreement, which we both took each other up on at least once a month. For years.
"I'm getting married next week." I had missed her. Everything from her cherry chapstick to the way she bit her lip when she was concentrating. She was marrying some stonemason. He was safe, she'd said.
"So." I tried to play it cool, but she saw right through it, she always did. She knew that I compared every other girl that I fucked to her. I'd told her so. How could I not. She was the benchmark. The first.
"So. Aren't you going to ask me in?" How could I not. I had a second of guilt, about her upcoming nuptials, but I'd had had her first, even though she'd never been mine.
I stepped aside, and she stalked in, kicking her boots off at the door. "This place smells like sex." Obviously. I watched, as she hopped up on my bed. "Did you just have someone here?"
"Are you clean?"
"You're the only one I fuck without a rubber." That hadn't changed.
"Good." I watched, as she pulled her sweater over her head. No bra. "Care to join me?"
Presentish day New York: December
The divorce went through December 2nd. We married on the 6th, at city hall, me in a simple suit, and her in a beautiful cream coloured dress that showed off more than a hint of her ever growing bump. Tara was our witness, and Pam came along for moral support, not that I needed it. Tara was marrying the following July, and said that she was doing it then to give Sookie the incentive to lose the baby weight. They had a very interesting relationship. We both knew she was excited to be marrying Benny but had some sort of block about allowing herself that. We'd told people about the baby around the end of September. The wedding though, we'd decided to announce at a Christmas party. It was the first party we'd ever hosted at our house.
My classes were done, so I'd been put primarily in charge of party planning. We'd spent Friday evening at the grocery store, buying things that didn't turn Sookie's stomach. The party list was much the same as our summer party, with the addition of Elisabeth Compton and Bill. Sookie had met him for coffee after the divorce went through, since she didn't think it was fair to invite him over to our house for the first time, and drop the wedding bomb on him. He agreed to come, even after he told her. Elisabeth, who I'd met for a final interview a few weeks ago, was thrilled with the way things had progressed between them.
They'd gotten together a few times, since he and I had had our talk. He never asked about or mentioned her pregnancy, even though it was all but impossible to ignore. It made her uncomfortable. I figured it was a bit of a coping mechanism for him, since the idea of her in this state made him so uncomfortable that he was willing to end their marriage.
Her reveal at work had happened a little sooner than expected, when Sam pulled her into his office to inquire about why I had the same address listed for my submission bonus as the one where her paycheques were going. He said he didn't care, since I was on schedule with things, and writing a huge book, to which she promptly replied that she was having my baby, probably just out of awkwardness.
She was someone that other pregnant women hated, as she'd grown quite large in three key areas only, two of which I was enjoying immensely. The rest of her remained pretty much the same. I'd worked quite hard, cooking everything that was supposed to give our baby the best start, and it seemed to be working twofold.
I'd worked quite hard to keep a couple of the guests a surprise. I dragged out grocery shopping for as long as possible, dragging her for a smoothie and a cookie afterwards to give Pam time to meet them at the airport. Walking around the grocery store was exhausting for her.
"So how's the editing going on my book?" I hated keeping secrets from her, even if they were ones she'd like. I reverted to small talk.
"Good. I should be able to bring your page proofs home at the end of next week." I'd gotten it in on time. Not ahead of time as I'd hoped, but on time. I didn't want to face the wrath of hormone Sookie.
"Excellent. I booked the rental car for the week." We were renting a winterized house in the Hamptons that we were considering buying. It wasn't Maine again, but potentially better, because it would be ours, if we decided to buy.
"I'm having another good year, so I should even be able to put more money down on it in April, when I get my bonus again."
"Its a good investment, that's for sure. How are you feeling?"
"Tired. But happy." She smiled. "I like you in a wedding ring."
"You too." I'd bought her another band to go with the first one, this one a little thicker. They were easy to buy. The staff at Tiffany saw me coming. "So are we going to find out the sex next week at your ultrasound appointment?" We'd gone back and forth on it.
"I think I want to. You and I aren't good with the unknown." Her hands were on her stomach. There were there a lot lately. We'd gone for a round of maternity shopping earlier in the week.
"Then lets do it." I grinned over at her. I'd wanted to know all along. I didn't care what it was, but knowing would make it a bit more real.
"I really wanted to know all along."
"Me too. Are you ready to go home?" I picked up our groceries and started looking for a cab. She hopped up and hailed one in seconds. One perk of being pregnant. We headed home, and I sent her ahead, as I gathered up our purchases. I smiled as I heard her squeal. I walked up the stairs, dumping the bags on the kitchen table.
"I can't believe you did this, you big, you!" She wrapped her arms around me. I looked down to see Corbett holding her legs. Jason popped his head out of the living room a minute later.
"I don't know how you didn't know. I tried to get Gran to come, but she said airports weren't her thing. You're gonna have to go visit once you have the baby though, or she'll never forgive you." Jason grinned and shook my hand. He'd split with Crystal a few months before, but had managed to get primary custody of Corbett, since he had Gran's assistance. Crystal hadn't contested, and she had him on weekends, except for this one. They'd been quite amicable with their split.
"Corbett, do you want a cookie?"I bent down to his level. Pam had baked up a storm yesterday.
"Yes pweese Uncle Ewic." He'd grown up a lot in eight months. It made me think of Louis. I'd sent him a Christmas present the week before. He was still with Remy, with no sign of Hadley in sight.
I picked him up and we carefully selected two perfectly decorated gingerbread men from Pam's jar. He ran off, Lily hot on his heels, hoping for crumbs.
Pam wandered out of her room a few minutes later. "So this is what I have to look forward to, when I come to visit? Rugrats and cookies?"
"You bet." Sookie grinned.
Sookie, Pam, Jason, and Corbett spent the next visiting every major thing that a kid would like in the city. I was still charged with party prep, which I didn't mind. It was nice to have a bit of quiet time, since I knew I wasn't going to get any for the next few days. I tidied, straightened, set out copious amounts of booze and snacks, ran out and picked up the wedding cake we'd ordered, signed for the flowers, and then sat down, feeling pretty exhausted. We'd not mentioned the marriage to Jason, but I figured Sookie would tell him today. Our wedding surprise wasn't much of a surprise to anyone. Not that we cared.
The party went off without a hitch. We made our announcement as soon as everyone arrived, and then the revelry began. Bill even brought a date, the redhead from his office a few months ago. It was a bit awkward at first, but I quite enjoyed it. I loved awkward. She was a grad student of his. I was dying to know if he was upfront with her, from the start. I doubted it. She was probably 23 or 24, and looked at him like he was a philosophy god. They were canoodling in the corner.
I was talking to Jason about their trip to the Smithsonian, when I noticed Sookie approach them. She looked like she had it under control. Her hand was on her stomach, where it had taken up pretty permanent residence. I wondered if she really had it under control. Jason noticed too. He leaned in. "Do you think she's gonna tell her that he doesn't want babies?"
"I don't know. That'll certainly liven up the party though. Maybe he told her."
He snorted. "Look at her, do you think he told her?" She was hot. Too hot for Bill.
"I doubt it. Although they may just be friends. Maybe they aren't serious."
He looked at me. "Do you think Sook's gonna care about that. I bet she wishes that someone had told her that while they were just dating."
I shrugged. "Probably." We looked over at them, trying to figure out what was going on. Sookie was smiling sweetly and still holding her stomach. I knew, like no one else did, that with the hormones she was dealing with, sweet could turn around really quickly. She laughed, and Bill's face dropped. "Uh oh. That didn't look good."
"I wonder what she said." Jason was desperately listening. The redhead had gone a ghastly pale shade. "I think she came out with it. Vasectomy Bill lives. Take that back to your wood panelled library. Asshole."
"I think I'm going to go get her."
"I think you're going to regret that." Jason grabbed my arm. "Let it play out. Sook can handle him."
He'd seen more of that than I had, so I took his advice. Bill looked somewhere between lost and livid. They needed to work out the terms of their friendship on their own. I said I was staying out of it. Jason was right. It developed into quite the standoff. Bill wasn't yelling, but his brow was furrowed. If he yelled at her, then I was going to step in. Stressing her out was not allowed.
Suddenly it was Sookie yelling. "Christ Bill, she had the right to know. You've been seeing her for four months."
Jason grinned. "Yep, she spilled it."
I didn't know how I felt about Sookie cockblocking her ex-husband. I knew it wasn't out of jealously, so it didn't really bother me, but I did feel for him. I understood her point too though, that he should have learned from their mistakes, because she had. Bill stormed by a minute later, followed by the redhead, who seemed to be over her his philosophy god persona. She eyed Jason up and down on her way out after him. He was going to have a hell of a time finding someone who was ok with him shooting blanks. I nodded to Jason, and went over to see my wife.
She'd crossed her arms over her stomach. "He didn't even tell her. She's the same age I was when we got married."
"As you know, that's a pretty hard thing to bring up in conversation."
"He should have learned."
I shrugged. "We can't all be so evolved. I think you and him are going to need to negotiate some terms for your friendship."
"I guess we are."
"Are you enjoying the party?" Time to change the subject.
"Well forget about him then." I smiled. "Its our day."
"I know." She wrapped her arms around my waist. "I'm over it. Its not my problem anymore."
The party continued without incident, despite the attendance of Amelia and Clancy, who spent the majority of the evening drooling over Pam, in a very short red dress and sky high heels. Pam didn't really do repeats, so I wasn't too worried about the downstairs of my house turning into a den of inequities. Jason and Corbett were sleeping upstairs, in Sookie's room, since we'd filled the spare room with the baby paraphernalia that we'd begun collecting.
Sookie had come across a stunning antique crib on one of her Saturday shopping trips, and we'd bought it about a month ago. We'd started to get things together, although Pam was insistent on throwing a baby shower, once things were a little further along. I spent a bit of time, sitting in the baby's room. My favourite part of it, so far, was a black and while blown up picture of the two of us that Pam had taken, about a week before we found out we were expecting. It was her and I, sitting on the beach, she in a black bikini, me in swim trunks, Lily at our feet. She was whispering something in my ear, a devilish look in her eye, which had me grinning an impossibly large grin. I didn't remember what she had said, it could have been anything, but it probably involved ditching Pam and going to not not try some more. Sookie had given it to me for my birthday, calling it our first family picture.
The part started to die out, and when everyone noticed Sookie asleep on the couch, they made their excuses and headed out. Pam, Jason, and I cleaned up a bit, while Corbett snuggled up with her, and when the house was back to rights, I woke her up.
"Let's get you to bed. You look exhausted."
"We did a lot of walking earlier."
"Well you can sleep all day tomorrow. I'll even bring you breakfast in bed."
"That sounds perfect."
We said our goodnights, and stood together, brushing our teeth. "I'm a very lucky lady." She smiled up at me, her breath minty fresh.
"You are, Mrs. Northman." Only I got to call her Mrs. Northman. She'd decided after Bill that she was never changing her name again. The paperwork had been a real bitch apparently.
We crawled into bed, after looking in on Corbett, who was fast asleep in the huge bed, his mouth wide open.
She rolled over to face me, her stomach touching mine. "Hey." She giggled. "I'm like miles away from you."
"And growing further by the day." I put my hands on her stomach. "I think I felt something."
"Really? The doctor said we should be able to, in the next week or so. What did you feel?"
"I think it was a kick. A get away from my Mommy kick." I grinned. "Good thing I'm bigger than him or her."
"You with your Freudian shit." She wrapped her arms around my chest, reaching as far as she could.