Okay. This is a one-shot. Already done, no more chapters. So I didn't start a new story... See..
Before you all get you're pitchforks ready, I'm warning. There is no sex, no lemons, nada. It's a sad story. I heard a very sad song called Fall Into Me by Seether and Amy Lee. That night I had a sad dream, and this fic is the result.
So, You've been warned it's sad.
I have to thank BeatleChickSteph for beta'ing this story for me. I added stuff after she fixed the mess, so any mistakes are mine.
All characters belong to Charlaine Harris.
It wasn't supposed to end this way.
Sookie stared at Eric's side of the closet. Still filled with his clothes, you'd never know he was gone.
Their love was the stuff romance novels were made of. So why was she now alone?
A 28-year-old widow.
Tears that she didn't even know she had left began to pour down her face and onto her black dress. Hours after the funeral and still she felt like it was a dream. Like she'd wake up tomorrow and be snuggled against his hard chest, his blonde hair forming a curtain around his face as he kissed his way down her stomach.
She picked up her alarm clock and threw it out the window before sinking to her knees and crying.
This wasn't how things were supposed to go. He was just supposed to be going to the store.
1 week earlier
"Eric, pleaseeeee. Come on. Just throw your shoes on and run out. I want some whipped cream with my dessert tonight."
She gave him a look that she hoped broadcasted her intent to have HIM as dessert. Apparently she succeeded because seconds later he had thrown on a pair of shoes and a shirt and was headed to the store for her whipped cream.
She'd never forget the last thing she said to him.
"Hurry home. I can't wait forever you know!"
Hurry home. Now he was gone. And she had to live with the guilt. Eric had been speeding in his corvette, on wet, rainy roads.
The doctor said it was instant. He didn't suffer. When he went off the road and slammed into a tree he knocked himself out on the steering wheel.
He died before he ever woke up from a brain injury.
All for the whipped cream she had to have.
What was she suppose to do without him? They'd been friends forever, lovers since college, and married for 5 years.
Bringing herself up off the ground she stripped her dress off and slipped into the t-shirt she'd been wearing for the past week. His shirt, the one he'd worn to work that day. Logically she knew it needed washed, but not until it stopped smelling like him. She hadn't even made the bed. Afraid moving the sheets too much would make them lose his scent.
She felt wet droplets hitting her arm and finally realized that she'd thrown the alarm clock out her window, breaking the glass, allowing the rain to come in.
Not knowing what to do she ran to the kitchen for a trash bag and some nails. When the garbage bag was nailed to the window, blocking the worst of the rain, she allowed herself a few seconds to rest her head against the window frame. It was only 6pm. She could still call the handyman that just moved in a few doors down.
She'd never seen him, but there was a flyer stuck in her door a few weeks ago, promoting his services. Maybe he could help.
With a sigh she pushed away from the window and went in search of the flyer.
He'd picked up on the 2nd ring. Sookie was already impressed.
"Hello, I'm Sookie. You put a flyer in my door a few weeks ago. I find myself in need of some assistance. Is it possible you could come take a look at a broken window?"
"Sure thing. I have some free time now. I could come take a look and at least get some measurements."
"That'd be great. Let me give you my address."
"No need. I know where you live. Heard about your husband and saw the cars today. I'm very sorry."
Sookie didn't expect the shooting pain that stabbed her in her chest. Would she forever be reminded about Eric? Would the pain ever go away?
No, she didn't think it would.
"Thank you. I'll be home the rest of the evening. Please just come at your convenience."
"I'll see you soon then Sookie."
"Goodbye Mr. Her-"
"Alcide, please. Just call me Alcide."
After she hung up the phone she ran upstairs to change into something more respectable, jeans and a tank top. Luckily she did it quickly because not 10 minutes later she heard a knock on the door.
"Alcide thank you so much for-"
The words died on her lips when she saw Alcide. Far from being the older gentleman she'd expected, he was her age. And very attractive. He was the dark to Eric's light. Dark hair, tanned skin, toned body.
What the hell?
Her husband wasn't even in the ground for a day and she was already noticing another man. Ashamed of herself and hurt that she'd do something so tasteless she clammed up. Forcing down anything but professionalism.
"Sookie, do you want to show me the window?"
Alcide had been staring at her with a lopsided grin.
"This way please."
At her clipped tone the smile dropped from his face. She felt a moment of guilt but pushed it down and led him to her bedroom. When he entered she felt embarrassed, her bed was unmade, clothes scattered everywhere, pictures of Eric all over the bed, his clothes hanging out of the closet.
"I'm sorry. It's been a long week."
"Don't be. I understand your pain. My wife Maria died last year. Took me a long time to even smile again."
She gave him a brief nod.
"I know it hurts now. But I promise, it will get better. You'll never forget him. But eventually you won't be so sad."
"I've got to clean up. Please let me know how much and how long you think it will take to get this fixed."
Without waiting for a response she fled the room and ran into the bathroom.
With a thump she sat down on the edge of the tub and dropped her head into her hands.
"He seems like a nice guy."
Her head snapped up to see Eric reclining against the sink across from her.
"E-Eric? But, you, you're, I mean."
"I'm dead Sookie. But you're not."
"Don't you think I know that? You left me, you left me here without you!" She jumped up and started thumping on his chest. He felt real, solid.
"Oh god, Eric. I can feel you, how?"
"My job isn't done here."
"What's your job?"
"To help you live."
Sookie grabbed fistfuls of the white shirt he wore over white linen pants. She buried her face in his chest and cried, feeling his arms come around her again.
"Oh God. I don't want to live without you. I can feel you. Can't you stay like this, with me, for me?"
His large hand felt heavy on the back of her head as he stroked her hair.
"No baby, I can't. I can't stay here. I'm just here to help you."
"What if I don't want to be helped? What if I just want you? I'm so sorry. I never wanted you to die. I shouldn't have sent you to the store, I shouldn't have."
"Shhh. It's okay. This was meant to be. If it didn't happen like this, it would have happened another way."
Sookie gave up on arguing and melted against him. Feeling his solid body around hers again. He'd held her like this so many times. She'd never ever take it for granted again.
"Baby, I have to go now. But you have to live. Live for me. He'll help you."
"He who? Who are you talking about?"
Eric just smiled and faded away. In seconds she found herself staring at her own tear-stained face in the mirror. The sound of knocking on the door is what finally pulled her focus away from her reflection.
"Sookie, are you okay in there?"
"Yes. I'm sorry. I'll be out in one second."
She waited until she heard his footsteps taking him down the hallway before she splashed her face with cool water and then toweled it off. She shook her head a few times to clear her thoughts and she left the bathroom.
She followed the sound of low humming down to the kitchen. He was casually leaning against the center island, writing something on a clipboard.
"Can it be fixed?"
"Alcide, that sounds awfully cheap."
He shrugged his massive shoulders and brushed a strand of dark hair out of his eyes.
"Let me do something nice for you. I'd do it for free, but I get the feeling you'd be offended."
"Yes I would."
"Then it's settled you pay for the window, labor is free."
His arms crossed over his chest. She noticed how large his biceps were and how wide his chest was. Alcide was definitely a good-looking man. But she was done with that. She'd given her heart to Eric. And no man would ever come close again.
"No, please nothing. Let me do this for you. And hey, I know this is out of line, but I'm going to give you my cell phone number. If you ever need to talk just call me. And I'll be back tomorrow to fix this window. Is that okay?"
"Yes, thank you." She took the scrap of paper with his cell phone number from his hand and placed it on the counter.
After a few tense moments of silence she showed him out and closed the door behind her, leaning up against it, trying to come to terms with all that had happened in her life recently.
"Sookie, my love, you have to let me go."
Eric laid beside her in bed. His arms wrapped around her waist, his head on her shoulder.
"I can't. It's too soon."
His hands came up to run his fingers through her hair. Warm lips brushed across her forehead so softly she barely felt them.
Tears dripped from her eyes and ran down her cheeks, soaking her pillow in her sadness.
"Please, stay. I'm begging you. Don't leave me. Eric, don't leave me."
She looked up into Eric's beautiful blue eyes. His eyes shimmered with tears.
"I can't stay. I'm dead Sookie. You have to let me go."
"I don't want to. You can't make me! I won't let you leave me."
Sookie pounded her fists into his chest. Now sobbing hysterically, she unleashed her anger and sadness on Eric's ghost of a body. Letting him absorb her pain.
When she tired of punching and swinging she collapsed against him. He held her, and shushed her, whispering sweet words into her ear. Her breathing slowed as she calmed.
"It hurts. I know it does. I thought we'd have so much longer. But this is what life gave us. You will find love again."
"How do you know Eric?"
"He showed me. I wanted to know that you'd be okay."
"The big guy. I'm suddenly glad we went to church every Sunday."
"Can you tell me who?"
"No, I can't. But I can tell you this. You have to trust again. And you have to let me go."
Sookie shook her head and held onto Eric tighter. She wouldn't let him go. She could have him, like this. He was with her. She could feel him.
"You won't always be able to feel me. And don't look shocked. I can hear your thoughts. Perk of death I suppose. My time with you is limited. I don't have long."
"They can't take you again. It's not fair."
The warmth of Eric's breath caressed her cheek.
"I'm sorry, I have to go."
"No, Please. Just a while longer."
"I love you. I'm sorry."
Sookie tried to clutch Eric close to her, but he faded into nothing. What was once his solid body, slid from her arms, disappearing into the night.
3 months later
"And you said no?"
Amelia's shriek of disbelief damn near deafened Sookie. But there was nothing to be done about that now.
"I said no. I'm not ready to date. Not even Alcide."
"But you have lunch with him every day."
"That's only because he's remodeling the house. The money from Eric's life insurance was a Godsend when that fire started in the kitchen.
Sookie saw Amelia rolling her eyes at her again. It had only been a few months. It wasn't enough time. She wasn't ready to let Eric go yet. He still came to her every night when she went to bed. Every night was the same thing. He'd hold her and beg her to let him go. And she selfishly held on.
The only time she had a break from thinking about Eric was during her lunches with Alcide. He'd make her laugh at the dumbest things. They joked about TV, movies, local gossip, and the horrible food Alcide would cook on days it was his turn.
She wasn't so blind that she couldn't admit that had she met Alcide under totally different circumstances, she would have dated him. He'd make an amazing husband to some lucky lady.
For some reason he wanted her. But she was damaged. Still seeing her dead husbands ghost.
Speaking of which...
"Amelia. I'm tired. I have to get to bed."
"So you can see Eric again?"
"Damnit." Sookie threw a towel on the ground. "I didn't tell you that for you to hold it against me. I'm tired; I'm going to bed. Goodnight."
She left Amelia standing in the partially finished kitchen, staring as she stormed away and to her bedroom.
"Sookie, we have the same conversation every night. You have to let me go."
"No. I won't."
"Please, I'm begging you. This isn't healthy. You have to let me leave. For both of us. This is torture for me. To see you, feel you, and know that eventually you'll no longer be mine."
"Then keep me Eric."
Eric looked at her with the same sad eyes he always had when he came to her at night.
"I'll tell you a secret. But you have to let me go. I know who you're meant to be with. If I tell you, please, be with him. And let me go."
"I don't want to know."
His fingers gripped her chin and lifted her head so he could stare into her eyes.
"It's Alcide. He's a good man. He'll love you. You'll grow old together. You'll have the children I couldn't give you. You'll have grandchildren. You will live a happy, full, life. But you need to let me go."
"You have too. You have to live for me. Please. I promise everything will work out in the end. Just live for me."
As Eric slipped from her arms once again, Sookie cried herself to sleep. Just like every night for the past 3 months.
1 year later
"You looking stunning tonight Sookie."
She blushed and tugged at the hem of her black cocktail dress.
"Thank you Alcide."
"Let's go. I have a big night planned."
Always the gentleman, he helped her into his truck and buckled her in before he rounded the front and got into the driver's side. He reached across the center console and grasped her hand.
After 9 months of dating, Sookie was in love with Alcide. It was hard, loving another man. Especially when Eric was always with her. Despite her promise to live for him, she still couldn't let him go. Every night Eric would come to her. At least she'd taken off her wedding rings. 5 months after Eric died she removed them. Realizing it must have been awkward for Alcide to take her on dates while she wore her rings. It was the hardest thing she'd ever done.
Lost in her own thoughts, she didn't even realize they'd made it to their destination. Alcide helped her from the truck, but kept hold of her hand as he walked her out to their special spot in the park right by the fountain where they'd have lunch almost every day.
"Sookie, sit down, please."
She gave him a quick peck on the lips then sat on the edge of the fountain. But when he knelt down before her, she stopped breathing.
"I know, this may be sudden, but I love you. And I hope like hell you love me. We're both a little damaged, and that's okay, because we understand that, and love each other despite it. I never thought I'd find love again. But I did. And it's with you."
Alcide's throat worked as he swallowed before pulling a ring box from his pocket and holding it open before her.
"Will you marry me, Sookie?"
Her mouth moved like a dummy without its ventriloquist. Her eyes caught sight of a mane of blonde hair.
Eric was standing behind a tree, nodding yes at her. And it was from him; she drew the courage to say...
"Yes. I'll marry you."
Alcide slipped a beautiful round solitaire diamond on her finger and kissed it before picking her up to hold her close. She clung to him, but looked for Eric again. But he was gone.
That night he appeared again, as she was readying herself for bed.
He leaned against the sink as he had the first time he appeared.
"You'll be happy. But you still haven't let me go."
"I'm trying. I swear I am Eric. It's hard. I love him. But I still love you."
He held open his arms and let her hug him.
"Oh sweetheart, of course you love him. And I know you love me. It's okay to love both of us. But it's not fair to have an affair with your dead husband."
"Let me go."
Once again, he's was gone.
1 year later
"Amelia, can you leave me alone for a minute. I just need a second."
"Okay, but it's almost time."
"I know, just a minute."
As soon as Amelia left the room Sookie walked to the floor length mirror and stared at herself in the mirror. She looked like the perfect bride. She was wearing a cream colored ball gown style dress with a lace veil. The picture of happiness. And she was happy. Thrilled to be marrying Alcide.
But something had to happen before she could.
"You look beautiful. Almost as beautiful as you did on our wedding day."
"I still remember I was late. You thought I stood you up."
"Yes, I thought my bride had pulled a runner. The happiest moment of my life was seeing you walk down that aisle. You looked like an angel. And believe me, I'd know."
"He makes me happy Eric."
"I'm letting go."
"One last hug, please?"
Eric pulled her close and she held him tightly as he pressed his lips to hers. Tears fought for release. It was the most bittersweet kiss she'd ever received.
When he pulled away she clutched at him. Wanting him closer, if just for a few more seconds. He shook his head sadly and touched his fingers to his lips, then hers.
"Goodbye Sookie. I love you."
When he had disappeared for the last time she looked up to the ceiling and whispered to herself.
"I love you, Eric. Always."
50 years later
Sookie sat in her favorite rocking chair, holding her family photo album. Pictures spilled out from the pages. Pictures of Alcide with their daughter Heather Maria and their son Nathan Eric, pictures of her children at their graduations, their weddings, and fresh pictures of her grandchildren.
She'd lived a good life. She knew Alcide waited for her in bed. But she felt too tired this evening, too tired to get up and climb the steps of their home. So instead, she leaned back and closed her eyes.
"Sookie." Her heart stopped beating, her breath caught in her throat. Could it really be him?
"Eric? Is it you?"
She opened her eyes to see his eternally young form standing beside her chair.
"You had all I promised you."
"I've watched you every day. But now it's time."
"I've come for you."
"You mean? I'm..."
"Going to pass away peacefully in your sleep."
"I know. But it's okay. We're going to do it together. I'll be right here with you."
"Yes, for eternity. You just got to take my hand."
She watched her boney, frail hand reach for Eric's young, strong one. The second her hand clasped his she felt a jolt through her body and then she was floating to Eric. Slowly her body aches disappeared, when she looked down, she realized she was young again.
"Eric, before we go-"
"You may say goodbye to Alcide."
She floated up the steps to the bedroom she'd shared with Alcide for the last 50 years. She sat on the edge of the bed and lightly brushed the gray hair back from his face.
"Alcide. Wake up. Please."
"Sookie, what's, you're, I don't..."
"Shhhh. It's my time. I have to go Alcide. I didn't even know I was sick. But, I'm gone. I died in my favorite chair downstairs."
She cried at the heartbroken expression on his face. If she could take the pain he was feeling now, she would.
"What do I do now?"
"Alcide, please, I'm begging you. Just let me go. Take care of our children and grandchildren. And one day, I know I'll see you again."
"I love you, Sookie."
"And I love you, Alcide"
Tears rolled down his face, but he nodded slowly. He was always so much stronger than her. She brushed one last kiss against his lips and stood from the bed. She vanished from his sight, but lingered to watch him cry himself back to sleep.
"He'll be okay. He'll live a few more years then also die in his sleep, in the same chair you did. He'll come to the same place we're going. But he'll be returned to Maria. You'll see each other and have fond memories of your time together, but you both will be with your first, true loves."
"I missed you Eric."
"And I you Sookie. Let's go."
Sookie took his hand. Only this time, when he faded, she didn't have to let go. She went with him.