A/N: So…it's been a few months since the last update, huh? I am genuinely sorry though. I would've like to have updated sooner, but life really does get in the way at times. Good news, I've been accepted to a great University in Europe. Anyone want to take a guess where? :)
Disclaimer: Unfortunately, Eric's hose is still his own and his alone.
Fire, and all its elements, has always amazed me. Ever since I was a kid and saw how the flames took over the logs of the camp fire, I was entranced. Of course, since then I've seen the destruction of it. I've witnessed how it can rush and rage forward through a family's home. I've even seen it claim a few lives too, though I wish that I hadn't. The current situation was one of the times I disliked my job; I cast my eyes over towards the misplaced family huddled under some blankets. They stood quietly as they watched the last of their home burn in the afternoon summer heat.
"Lieutenant?" I called Tray over.
"Yeah, Cap?" He asked as he ran over.
"How are they doing?" I asked him as I nodded towards the family.
"Other than the fact that their family home is nothing but ashes? They're fine."
"Lietenant." I warned him.
"They'll be okay, Captain. Paramedics cleared them, and they do have insurance. Besides, they have their lives, which is our number one concern. Right?
"Right." I agreed.
"They'll get throught this."
"I hope so."
"They will. You can quote me on that."
"I just might. Make sure they're set up for the night will you?"
"And make sure they have all the information they need."
"Estevez is on it."
"Good. How's Sandino's burn?" I asked him.
"Barely a singe. More pissed off than anything that he had to get treated, but it's nothing." Tray reported.
"Make sure he takes care of it properly. And when do the marshalls get here?"
"Tomorrow morning. I'm betting on an electrical fire though. This home was too old, and without the proper renovations."
"Have you been watching HGTV again?" I quirked in a sudden mood swing, choosing to tease Tray in order to feel a bit better.
"That means yes."
"I can't help it. I love those shows, dammit."
"You like the male hosts." I jabbed.
"Hey, hey, hey! Just because I enjoy 'Cousins on Call', 'Income Property' and the gorgeousness that is 'Property Brothers' doesn't mean anything."
"You like watching the contractors bend over."
"No thanks." I frowned.
"Speaking of biting..." Tray started.
"And here it is." I said as I rolled my eyes.
"I'm going to spend the night at Amelia's today. Is that alright?"
"Why are you asking me?" I wondered.
"I didn't know if you're going to spend the night over. I thought I'd give you a heads up."
"Gee, thanks for the warning. But I think Sookie is staying over my place tonight."
"When are you two finally going to move in?"
"When are you and Amelia finally going to set a date?"
"We have." He informed me.
"And when is the blessed occasion going to happen?"
"You'll find out when you get the invitation."
"Do you even know what your own invitation looks like?"
"Of course not."
"Hey, I tried helping out with the wedding but Amelia said she didn't want my help. Remember?"
"I don't blame her."
"Oh, come on. You would've done the same thing."
"No. No, I woudn't have. Then again I don't have your sick sense of humor."
"You have no humor."
"I have a humor, and it's not twisted like yours."
"Yeah, yeah. Anyway, I'm pretty sure we're still set on a summer wedding, so..."
"So that means that this time next year, you'll be a married man."
"Yes...yes I will." He said with a far off look.
"You having doubts?"
"No, I love Amelia."
"Nothing. I love Amelia."
"It's okay if you're nervous."
"I'm not nervous!" He started to get defensive.
"If you say so. Though conversations like this usually occur a little closer to the wedding day and not a year before." I tried to lighten the mood.
"It's just...hearing that I'll be a married man in a year's time takes a bit of adjusting."
"Yes, which is why you should probably be absolutely sure about the person you marry before you marry them. Are you...are you having doubts about Amelia, already?"
"No, I swear I'm not. But I do worry..."
"What if it doesn't work out?"
"I'm sorry, where is this coming from?" I wondered and why he decided to share all of this information in the current moment; it wasn't exaclty opportune.
"What?! Now I can't worry about my future?"
"Tray, we willingly rush into fires for a living; a future is something that can be taken away from us in a moments notice."
"Exactly! Which is why I need to be sure about the future I do plan."
"You do realize that as we speak, Amelia is having Sookie and the rest of the girls fitted for bridesmaids dresses."
"Yep. She told me this morning. Not to mention that within the next month or so, we're going to have to start looking for suits or tuxes. Can you even imagine me in a tux?"
"What the hell, Tray? Now you're taking the time to think about your future and wondering if you're making a mistake? Should I remind you that you're the one that brought up marriage in the first place! To Amelia, might I add. You two aren''t exactly the picteresque version of traditional!"
"I know! I just didn't think it'd be so soon, and besides...it wasn't really a marriage proposal per say. I happened to throw the idea out there and it unfolded from there."
"Hold on, for a second there...I thought you said you knew she was the one? You told me, and I quote that 'when you know, you know and all that jazz' so what's changed?"
"I did...and I do. I do know she's the one. I'm sure of it. Pretty sure anyway."
"Have you two even told each other that you...you know...love one another?"
"In different ways, yes."
"Alright, I can not have this conversation with you right now. You need to talk to Amelia, for once...and actually talk. With words. Verbally and not with your reproductive organs, am I clear?"
"Yes, sir." He grumbled.
"I don't know what's going on in that head of yours, but right now I need you to be the lieutenant you are and do your job. Now go on and double check what time that fire marshall is coming in."
"Will do." He said before turning his back.
"Lieutenant? I'm sorry I don't know what to tell you and that you're having doubts to begin with but...just, talk to her alright? Maybe it's just the act of planning a wedding that has you nervous; It's okay to be afraid." I added. I did feel badly about not knowing how to react to Tray's worries.
"I will...thank you, Captain."
I watched as Tray went over to Sandino and checked on his burn. I continued to watch over my lieutenant as he talked over the details of the fire marshall's appearnace, and as he went and checked on the displaced family. It was a bit of a shock to see Tray have any fears or doubts about his future; that wasn't the person I knew and was subjected to day in and day out. The Tray I knew never showed any fears, not even in the worst of circumstances. His current situation did prompt me to come to a decision though. I had to talk to Sookie; I had something to tell her.
I wanted to kill her. And I swore I as going to. I really did want to strangle her. She did this on purpose. I knew she did. She was also enjoying this. Only she would. Of course she would find joy in my misery. My dear best friend, Amelia had a twisted sense of humor. And if Eric had told me anything about Tray, I now understood why they were perfect for one another. I suppressed the urge to act out on my thoughts as I heard Amelia's laugh.
"Oh, Sookie...you look so...just, so-"
"I'm going to kill you." I snapped.
"But don't you just love it? I mean, it's so...you!"
I saw Amelia hold in her laugh as I looked at her reflection in the mirror. I also saw my reflection and wanted to purge at the sight. She must have found the most ugliest bridesmaid dress in all of Kleinfeld's and stuck me in it. I couldn't figure out which was more ghastly, the color or all of the horrible emblishments. And to top it all off, it even came with a hat. I didn't even think they'd carry something this frightful at Kleinfeld's.
"I hate you so damn much, Amelia." I told her in a low voice.
"You are gorgeous."
"Why didn't you make any of the other girls try on this horrible thing?! I don't even want to call this a dress! It'd be a diservice to all the other dressed in creation!" I whined.
"It's honestly not that bad!" She laughed again.
"Not that bad?! Amelia! Look at me! I looked like a jacked up mad hatter!"
"Well, 'Alice in Wonderland' is one of your favorite books."
"Oh, alright! Alright, keep your underwear on...though if you lost it, I'm sure Eric wouldn't mind."
"Don't change the subject. I hate you for putting me in this thing."
"Fine, you can take it off."
"Thank you!" I sighed as I tore off the hat and began working down the zipper before it snagged on something.
"Oh, come on! I need to find comical relief somewhere! All this wedding stuff is driving me up the wall!" Amelia explained as she came over and helped me with the dress.
"Isn't that why you have a wedding planner?"
"Yeah, but she's driving me crazy. Talk about a frigid bitch."
"At least she gets results. She did manage to book the location you wanted and she even overlooked Tray's snaffu with the wedding cake."
"Don't even get me started on Tray. I wanted to kill him for that."
"I thought you found it funny?"
"Not all the time. Sometimes he takes it a bit too far."
"Takes it a bit too far? And this is coming from you?"
Amelia didn't respond as she took a seat on the chair. I quickly threw the so-called 'bridesmaids' dress over in the corner to get it out of my sight. I really did hate that thing. Whoever designed it should be ashamed of themself. I looked Amelia over as I but back on my robe. She was quiet. Too quiet. And for Amelia, that wasn't a good sign.
"Are you okay?" I asked her.
"Yeah. I'm fine. Just going a bit crazy with all the things that have to be done for the wedding, and Tray isn't much of a help, so..."
"I'm sorry, Ames. I can help out more if you want?"
"No, you're doing enough. I really do appreciate all you're doing."
"Definitely. Now, let's get you in the real dress, shall we?" She asked and forced a smile.
I was at a stand-still. I wanted to approach the subject in hopes of helping Amelia, but at the same time I wanted to give her her space. Deciding on letting Amelia come to me when she was ready, I smiled and asked for the next dress to try on. It was gorgeous, lilac and fit like a glove. Different from the rest of the bridesmaid's dresses, it was perfect.
"Amelia, it's so pretty!" I gushed.
"Only the best for my maid of honor."
"I really do love it."
"Great. Now lets tell the consultor that we're ready to order all the dresses." She said as she started to gather her things.
"Do you want to try on a few dresses while we're here?"
"Uh...no, I'm okay. We came here for bridesmaids dresses, that's all."
"You sure? I saw this wedding dress on the floor that I think would look great on you. I even saw some dresses that would live up to your expectations." I tried to joke.
"No, I really just want to get home. Besides, Tray is coming over tonight."
"Okay. I'm staying over Eric's place tonight anyway, so..."
"We can try on dresses for you if you want? We all know you're in love with that man of yours."
"Right, because I'm sure Eric is here listening. So, when did you figure out that you loved him?" She changed the subject and I went along with it.
"I don't know...I guess it was around a week ago."
"I knew it. I told you it'd take a week. So what did you in?"
"You know that movie, where the girl says that the man she loves is the only one that can make her heart beat faster and slower at the same time?"
"Oh honey...you did not just quote 'The Hot Chick' to me." Amelia looked distraught.
"Shut up." I laughed. "He makes me laugh until my stomach hurts, he tells me I'm beautiful, and he's fun! He is so much fun and sweet. He's thoughtful, he gives me flowers because he was thinking of me, and when I'm not with him I want to be. I love the way he makes me laugh, and the way he quirks up that one eyebrow of his. Or the way he holds me at night and whispers in my ear. And I want to be with him in every single way that matters...I, Sookie Stackhouse loves Eric Northman." I smiled as I thought of him. I'd been waiting for the right moment to tell Eric. I even thought of making some elaborate dinner. All my thoughts stopped as soon as I took in Amelia and her sad face.
"I'm happy for you Sookie. I really am."
"Amelia, are you-"
"I'm going to go. I have to meet the ice-queen to go over flower arrangements."
"Is that the official title that we're using for your wedding planner?" I offered up.
"Well, we could always go with 'bitch', but then again that's too simple."
"Alright, then...I'm going to go on over to the firehouse and see Eric. I'll tell Tray you said 'hi'?"
"Yeah, sure. I'm going to go and get all these dresses and the bill sorted, so I'll see you later Sook."
I didn't even get to tell Amelia goodbye before she skooted off towards another direction. I was left with a range of emotions that I didn't even want to begin to sort through. I threw on my maxi dress and made my home to get my over-night bag. I even left Amelia a note on the fridge with a reminder of where I'd be spending the night. My mind was all over the place as I got everything I needed for my night at Eric's. I was so out of it, I didn't realize that Eric was standing on my front door step until I ran into him.
"Ouch!" I yelled.
"Sorry! I'm sorry, Sookie. I thought you saw me." He said in a fluster.
"No, I'm sorry. I wasn't looking where I was going and my mind is still stuck on...nevermind. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to bump into you like that."
"Yeah. Are you? I thought I was going to meet you at the firehouse?"
"You were. I just got off a bit early and thought I'd surprise you."
"Well...it's a very nice surprise." I smiled at him. I hadn't seen as much of him in the past two weeks as I wanted. I missed him.
"Can I come in?"
"Of course. Are we still going to your place?"
"Yes. Actually, if you want...we can head over there and then talk."
"Talk? What's wrong?"
"Nothing. It's a good thing. At least I think it is anyway." He tried to smile.
"Okay then, we can talk here and then head over to your place?"
I stepped aside and let him in. I threw my bag on the floor as I followed him into the living room and sat next to him on the couch. He looked a bit anxious, and after the day I had, that had me a bit nervous.
"So...what do you want to talk about?" I wondered. "Is it about us?"
"Yeah. It is." He stated.
"But you said it was a good thing, right?"
"It is. At least I'm hoping it is."
"Alright...lay it on me, I guess."
"You sure you're okay?"
"I am, I just had a loong day."
"Right, how was dress shopping with Amelia."
"Why do you say that?" He asked, suddenly very interested.
"I hope I'm wrong, and I'm not even sure I should be saying this outlous but...you're my boyfriend and I trust."
"Good, that's nice to hear. Especially since I feel the same way."
"I think Amelia is having second doubts about the wedding."
"It's just the way she was acting at the store today. She had a bit of fun by making me try on this horrible sack that dared to be called a dress, and then...she just started acting weird."
"It's Amelia. She's always weird."
"But it was different...she was acting off. She didn't want to talk about it but...I know she's having doubts."
"Tray is too."
"Shut the fuck up!"
"Nice one, sweetheart."
"I'm sorry it's just...that's not like either of them."
"Tell me about it. Tray was suddenly concerned about the furture."
"That's rich coming from him."
"I know...but, that's not what I wanted to talk about."
"You're right, I'm sorry for bringing it up."
"It's okay." He laughed.
"I'm just worried about my friend."
"I know you are. And I know you care deeply for your friends...which is one of the reasons why I love you."
"Of course I care about my friends, I...wait, what? What did you just say?"
"I love you, Sookie Stackhouse. I'm just sorry it took me this long to say it."
"You love me?"
"Everything about you. The way your hair always gets into your face, and the way you scrunch up your nose when you laugh too much."
"I do not scrunch up my nose!"
"Yes you do. But I love it. Just the same way I love your birthmarks, and your colorful curses that you make up and how you're there for me when I always need it. And you sure as hell put up with a lot. But you're always understanding. And that's one of the many reasons why I love you."
"You don't have to say anything."
"Shut up, I love you too!" I grinned and he matched it.
"I was hoping you'd say that."
"Still want to go to your place?" I wondered. I suddenly wanted to do other things than talk.
"As much as it's going to kill me to wait to have you in my arms, I would like some privacy for what I have planned."
"Well then, Captain Northman...lead the way."
Our laughter rang loudly all the way to Eric's house. And I was glad for the privacy it provided once we were there.
A/N: As always, thanks to those lovely people that leave a review. And a big THANK YOU to those that are sticking with this story as I write it. I know I'm not as frequent with updates as I once was, but I do appreciate everyone that takes time to read it. :) Also, I'm almost done with a new chapter for 'The Overture' and hope to have it up sometime next week!