Okay, this is it, really. I couldn't leave it all nice, not if it's inspired by my favourite ad man! Hope you like!
Nine Months Later...
He was surprised to see her at the door, when he got home at around 2am. "Where have you been?" She eyed him, her hands on her hips.
"Out, meeting with clients." He dropped his briefcase by the door. "Why are you still up?" He'd been looking forward to crawling into bed with her, and fucking her after Andy's 6am feeding.
"Andy was hungry. I just put him back to bed. We need to talk."
"Oh?" He raised his eyebrows. She'd gotten a call from Jason's wife Crystal a few hours earlier, letting her know that her husband had been getting handsey with some waitress at a bar uptown. She didn't know how far he was taking things, but after less than a year of marriage, and more than one phone call from various people about her husband's canoodling, she'd had enough. He sat down on the couch. "What is it?"
"It's you, and the fact that you seem to have no problem embarrassing me all over town with a bunch of cheap women, while I stay home and breastfeed your son." Sookie narrowed her eyes at him, and crossed her arms over her chest. "I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt on this one, since Crystal is a lying bitch, but you have lipstick on your collar." She reached up, pulled it around and showed it to him.
Ah yes. The waitress. He'd only began to flirt with her after Alcide had called him out in front of a bunch of their junior staffers as a pussy whipped bitch, when he attempted to go home at a reasonable hour. The lipstick on his collar was hardly an indication of how the night had went. "I didn't fuck her."
"It doesn't matter, Eric, if you fucked her or not. You've made me look like a fool." She raised her chin that way she did when she was really angry. "Tell me why I shouldn't kick you out."
He thought about it, and didn't really have a good reason. "Do you think now would be a good time to set up some terms, for our marriage?"
"No." She rolled her eyes. "It's a marriage, Eric. That should be it. How would you feel if I spent night after night downstairs sucking face with a few handsome young men? Because if that's what your idea of a marriage is, on your end, then I can go along with that. We can get a nanny for Andrew, and we can both make fools of ourselves and each other all over town." She shook her head. "Then what kind of shit would the boys give you? You know my track record. I'm certainly not beyond embarrassing my husband."
Eric knew she wasn't bluffing on that one. He'd been a witness, and a participant in the ultimate destruction of her last husband. The man wouldn't even get elected to the PTA now, if he had a shitload of kids. "So then what do you suggest we do, to keep each other from looking like fools. I'm not really up for a fool-making contest darling."
"I don't want you fucking anyone else. I know you fucked around on me, in the beginning, when I first had Andy, and I let it go, because I certainly wasn't in a position to be fucking you, but I am now, and I won't tolerate it."
"I didn't fuck around on you." Well, he thought, not in the strictest sense of the word, not much, anyway. There'd been a blowjob here and there, when he travelled on business, but not sex in real terms, besides the first time.
"I had you followed, so there's no need to lie to me. I know, and you're still here, so obviously, I've gotten over it, but it stops now. You have a decision to make, Mr. Northman, and until you make it, the couch in my office downstairs is available to you. You can be all in, in terms of this marriage, or fold now. You're a good dad, but a really lousy husband." Her voice wavered on the last part. He was a good dad, better than any she'd seen. Even as a tiny baby, their son worshipped the ground his dad walked on. The idea of him in the throes of intimacy with another woman infuriated her though.
"So what are your terms then?" He sat down on the couch. She stood. He wondered what exactly she knew. She thought it didn't matter. She knew enough.
"I've told you. I told you in Vegas. Fidelity. I don't know how to keep a man like you faithful, but I'll do what it takes, on my end, but you need to do what it takes on yours too. I don't want to get any more calls about your canoodling with low end whores. If Alcide gives you shit, then you take it. Knock him out, I don't care, but you don't need to prove to him that you're an asshole." She knew what the old boys club in advertising was like, because as much respect as she got at company parties, it was obvious that there was a code of sorts, when it came to women and work. "That's my condition, and you can take it or leave it."
"Sookie, I really haven't fucked anyone else." The idea of knocking anyone else up scared the hell out of him, and besides that, he did love the two of them, and he knew that would be a deal breaker. He'd realized that when he'd done it, but that was neither here nor there. It was a one time thing, he told himself, not worth bringing up. He'd been walking a fine deal breaking line though, with the other things, testing his limits. Clearly he'd reached them.
"I don't want your dick out of your pants, unless you're in a sauna discussing advertising with a bunch of shriveled up old men, or I'm in the room. Can I be any clearer?" She spat at him, in a condescending tone. "Do you need a diagram?" So his extracurricular activities were off limits. He'd suspected as much.
"No, I don't need a diagram." He looked at her, expecting more. She didn't have any other conditions, at this point in time. She knew he wasn't the kind of man to give without receiving, so that wasn't a conversation they needed to have. "I'm giving you a week, like you gave me one. Sleep on the couch, get a hotel room, do what you need to do, but I'm not interested in doing anything half-way with you." She wasn't interested, because she loved him, despite how hard she tried to convince herself otherwise at times. Even now, when she was furious with him, she still cared about him in a way that was different from how she'd cared for anyone else. It was more. She looked across at him, from the chair she'd dropped into, and felt an inkling of the same thing from him, at least that was how she interpreted it. "If you want to do this, with us, then meet me downstairs at Bon Temps, in our booth in the back in a week for dinner."
Their booth. He'd always thought of it as that, but wasn't aware that she did. "What about Andy?"
"What about him?" She raised an eyebrow.
"I don't get to see him?"
"I'm not cruel, but I don't want to see you. We can make arrangements." All things considered, she was being rather kind about things, he thought, not just throwing him out, and giving him an option. He knew what she was doing. She wanted him to pick them, just as she had, when he'd shown up with her ring.
"What if I don't want to go?" He didn't. "Then what?"
"I don't really care what you want. You need to want this a bit more than you do." She got up and moved beside him on the couch. "I see that you have the potential in you, to be what Andy and I deserve, but you aren't living up to your potential." She'd had a bit of a life revelation, with Bill, that she felt that not many women of her generation had. She deserved better, and she felt it again, but where as she knew Bill was all he was ever going to be, she couldn't shake the feeling that Eric wasn't, which was probably irritated her most. That and being made a fool of, once again. She wouldn't tolerate that.
"I see." He did see. He wasn't stupid, anymore than she was, and the idea of her lips on anyone else infuriated him, just as it had when he'd first seen her kissing Sam that night he'd fucked the hostess in the bathroom. He wasn't sure of their timeline, and since they'd never been official, it wasn't as though she was cheating, but was was dangerously close to their talk about seeing other people. "I do love you." He stood up. "And I'll see you in a week."
"I hope so, and I hope things will be different." She lifted her chin again, but this time he noticed her eyes were a bit watery. He wanted to just leave, as to not get emotional, but instead knelt down beside her on the floor beside the couch, and took her hands in his.
She pulled them away and wiped her eyes. "Actions speak louder than words. Really be sorry, and we'll do this for real, if that's what you want. If it isn't, the next time we won't be having this conversation. Your shit will be all over Madison Avenue, and I'll change the locks."
He went into their room, where he'd first fucked her, while her husband listened, threw some things in a suitcase, and headed out the door. He willed her to ask him to stay, but, as he predicted, she didn't. He knew his wife better than she thought. She didn't back down from anything.
He slept like shit in the hotel, and couldn't help but wonder how she was sleeping, in their huge bed, which they'd bought to accommodate his height. She'd tossed and turned throughout her pregnancy, but slept like a rock now.
After a few sleepless hours, he turned the television on, and it was then he realized why she'd sent him away. She wanted him to miss her. He did. He'd spent nights apart from her, in the past, many times, but he knew that she was there, and they were together. This was different. He'd taken her to the end of her rope, and he wasn't sure they'd bounce back. He knew what he had to do to fix things, but he wasn't sure he knew how to fix himself. He was the problem here, and he'd always been. That was a bit hard to swallow, when he thought of it in those terms.
He'd fucked it.
Eric thought back to the first time he'd strayed, after they married. He'd felt incredibly guilty. It was about a month before Andy was born, and he was in Miami for work for a week. She even looked like Sookie, full red lips, big breasts, curvy figure, long blond hair. He'd met her at a bar in the hotel where he was staying, then one thing had led to another, and his wedding band was stuffed in his pocket, and she was blowing him on a South Beach balcony. He'd fucked her on the dresser, the idea of having another woman in bed too intimate. She'd angled to stay with him, and he'd shut that down quite quickly, and had her out the door before midnight.
He'd drawn himself a line that night, with a shaky hand. He didn't want to feel like he felt again, like a piece of shit. He still had his guilty moments, when he'd think of her, during the act, so he tried not to do that. It wasn't often, maybe once or twice a month, and usually with some unsuspecting stewardess. He'd always been a sucker for a girl in uniform.
Sookie wasn't sure if he'd be back, and she only wanted him back if he was going to try. He'd tried, for a few months, while she was pregnant, however, slowly, but surely, he'd fallen into old habits. She'd known almost immediately. He'd changed. He wasn't as open as he had been, when they'd gone mad and thought that love, and a baby were enough. She did love him though, she had for a long time, although she didn't even admit that to him. He'd been an amazing friend to her, when she was dealing with the situation with Bill, supporting her in lots of ways, besides the sex. They'd talked for hours about their hopes and dreams, silly things that people don't tell enough people. She knew him, and, in a twisted way, she knew why he was fucking around. It was because he was afraid to admit to himself that they were enough, because it meant he'd need her. He was afraid of getting hurt, possibly even more than she was, and so he was sabotaging himself. It was easier to be able to blame the decline of their relationship on his inability to be faithful, than a personal failure on his part.
It made her sad, knowing he felt like that, because she was fairly certain they worked. She wouldn't have married him otherwise. It also helped that he was the anti-Bill, besides his infidelity. Lots of men cheated. Her daddy cheated on her mom, and she'd taken it for years. But it didn't mean that she had to, or that she wanted to raise her son to think it was acceptable to engage in that sort of behavior. Times were changing, and the woman's movement was picking up steam. She considered herself a part of that change too, running her own successful business, while raising a child with very little help, outside of Eric.
The week passed without event. There were no violent outbursts, no angry moments. Eric picked Andy up from Lafayette at the restaurant a couple of afternoons, while Sookie avoided him, by staying in her office, and pretending she didn't hear his voice, asking about her. She got a lot of work done, hired for a couple of positions that she'd been putting off, and arranged for a temporary worker to clean out the stockroom.
He worked, like usual, but found that he was looking at the women in his office in a different way. They presented a threat like they hadn't before, like doing the wrong thing would cost him more than he was perhaps willing to spend. His afternoons with Andy were great, but he couldn't help but feel like he was letting him down, if he didn't fix himself. He didn't want this little man to be any less great because he was a mess. He didn't want to see him an afternoon a week. He liked tucking him in at night, and marking his growth with Sookie, through his smiles and and movements. He was amazing, and even though he was a just six months old, he already had this little personality, a perfect mix of the two of them, stubborn, yet suave.
Lafayette had told him she was fine, but he would always be loyal to her over him, and Eric was quite certain that he wouldn't have told him if she lost a limb, if she'd asked him not to. Lafayette had given him a look of pity, when he dropped Andy back off at Bon Temps, which Eric didn't know how to interpret. They'd always gotten along quite well. He was on his way out the door, when Lafayette shouted him to. "Get your fuckin' act together. She's worth it."
Eric had nodded and left. He wasn't surprised that she'd told him. He was her closest friend. What struck him about his reaction was that he wasn't angry, with him, and looked like instead he felt sorry for him. He was missing out on things. It was his loss. She had friends, and family, and a very full life. He had work, and a random blowjob in an airplane bathroom on a business trip.
And then it was Saturday. They both woke up, and marked the day in different ways. She took Andy to the park, and he went for a drive. He rarely drove anywhere, but decided to take a drive down the shore. After stopping at Coney Island for lunch, he went for a walk on the boardwalk, trying to figure out the right thing to say, and what he really wanted. He wanted to be happy. That was what it came down to.
When she slid into the booth at about 7pm, after sending Andy off with Lafayette for a few hours, Eric was already sitting there, looking like water in a desert. She wasn't going to make things easy on him though, she'd decided that a week ago. It wasn't going to be a matter of him just saying things would be different. She'd told herself she'd know if he was lying.
"You came." She said, trying to play it cool, but kind of unable to hide her excitement. He didn't look ready to spew lipservice. He had a sort of sincere, resigned look about him. She hoped that was a good thing.
"You came." He raised an eyebrow. "I'm glad."
"How long have you been sitting here?"
He cracked a grin. "Since 4:30. You didn't specify a time."
She smiled back. "We don't even serve dinner until 5pm."
"I'll do it. I know you don't have to believe me, and, frankly, I'm not sure if I'd believe me either, but I mean it. I'll try and be the person you deserve, because you deserve someone great."
She took a deep breath. "I mean it. I don't want any phone calls, I don't want to know you're lying to me. You've lost your free pass. This is it. Stackhouse-Northman's last stand. It could last for five minutes, or fifty years. It's all on you."
Fifty years. Eric felt himself sweat, a bit. This could work out terribly, or it could be amazing. His life with them. He put his chips down. "I'm in. However you want me to be in, I'm in."