"To hide a passion totally (or even to hide, more simply, its excess) is inconceivable: not because the human subject is too weak, but because passion is in essence made to be seen: the hiding must be seen: I want you to know that I am hiding something from you, that is the active paradox I must resolve: at one and the same time it must be known and not known: I want you to know that I don't want to show my feelings: that is the message I address to the other."- Roland Barthes
Semi-Charmed Kinda Life
Chapter 12: Keep on smiling
February 04-Sookie's House
I pulled Sookie into a one arm hug and gave her a kiss on her forehead. Who the hell did this? Who was onset spy who will soon regret messing with me and mine? But more importantly, what the fuck are we going to do with this?
Pulling away from my embrace she stood up and walked towards the window. For a long while she stood there in silence. I didn't know what was going through her mind. Was she in anxious? Was she shocked? Had she absorbed what has happened already? I couldn't know for sure.
She turned around to face Amelia and as I gazed at her, a feeling of trepidation inhabited me. She looked too fucking calm...too blank. It was as if she has detached herself from the situation.
"Call Lafayette again. Ask him if he could come by the house, ASAP. This needs to be dealt with- cautiously." She said in a business-like manner.
"He's already on his way, Sook. He'll be here in half an hour or so." Amelia replied. "Do you have any idea who may have done this?"
"The why and wherefore isn't what concerns me at the moment Ames." She answered dismissively. "It's the steps we have to take to control this."
"You're right of course." Amelia concurred. "It's just-"
Her expression darkened. "But the culprit for this fiasco will pay for this and he or she will pay dearly."
Spellbound, I simply stared at her. Oh. Hell. Consider me- fucking amazed. Did she just issue a threat to do harm on the fucker responsible for leaking the video? I liked her. I liked her a lot. I'm impressed and stunned. And I can absolutely help her achieve what she wanted.
Find the culprit and make him/her/them pay? Done. Nothing excites me more, than to carry out a vengeance borne from a righteous indignation.
"Sookie…" I said. "Are you sure you're fine?" I asked.
She glanced at me. "Relatively- yes. You really should get going or you'll be late for your flight." Her tone made it quite obvious that I was being dismissed. I wanted to protest. Why must she always push me away?
I didn't respond. I merely looked at her.
"If…" She sighed. "If the press tries to contact you-"
"I will not release any statement or give any comment to them about this." I said sincerely. Why the in the world should I? I'm not the celebrity. But I supposed that she needed reassurance. The need for such is a normal reaction for someone who has been betrayed.
"Thank you." Her voice softened a little. "My manager- Lafayette Renolds, will call you within a day or two to explain how the media fallout will be dealt with."
"Can you leave your contact details with me?" She asked.
"Are you asking for my number, Sookie?" I teased.
"Yes." She gave me an eye-roll. "Now, stop teasing me."
I looked at Amelia. "Eric already gave me his card earlier." She explained
"I'm really surprised that you are taking this so calmly." I commented.
"Do you expect me to look like a rabbit hiding under a bush while the fox tracks it? Negative press comes along with the job." She said in a matter of fact tone.
She really was feisty. Her sassy attitude brought a dozen of wayward fantasies to my mind. I had to admit, take charge Sookie was a huge turn on- that or I was just plain crazy about her. Get a grip.
"So this situation isn't new to you." I pressed.
"This isn't my first time."
"That's a relief then." I smirked. "You didn't know how surprised I was, the last time you exp–" I was prevented from uttering a poor tasting joke meant to bring a rise out of her because she had walked quickly in front of me to place an index finger upon my lips- thus effectively shushing me.
"Stop it." She glared at me. "I'm angry about it- okay." Good- at least she's aware that her blunted affect bothers me. I gave the said finger a kiss and she automatically pulled her hand away.
I took her hand and held it gingerly in mine.
She was looking down at me. She was blushing. Good. Amelia excused herself saying that she'll wait for Lafayette in the kitchen. Intuitive.
"Come here." I tugged her hand to pull her to me.
She obliged. She sat on my lap.
"'Really? Are you really okay?" I asked, still unconvinced.
"I am." She said. "But I'm confident that Lafayette and his PR staff will have some idea how to spin this."
"Spin it?" I asked hoping that she'll clarify.
"Yes. They'll make sure that the truth will be fabricated and presented to the public in a manner favorable to us" I will have to trust her designated spin-doctor for such task then.
"I see" I lightly caressed her cheek.
"I'm really sorry Eric. I know that you're not used in dealing with this kind of drama." She said sincerely.
"But you are." I inferred. She must be. How long had she been in this business?
"I have to be."
She stirred something within me when she uttered that statement. It made me want to protect her. But she's right. I know she can handle this. She's strong… strong yet vulnerable at the same time. So damn intriguing. Ah, Sookie Stackhouse, you are a hundred different things. And I don't doubt that I won't enjoy discovering each and everyone of them.
"I won't be too worried, then." I smiled. "I should get going." I lifted her chin. My gaze held hers.
She smiled at me. "Are you always this pushy?" I ran my finger across her forehead, soothing the frown that had formed between her eyebrows.
"'Only when I see something that I want." I smiled too.
She made a small noise from the back of her throat. "Oh…"
Instead of going after her lips, I kissed her forehead instead.
"That's it?" she said surprised.
I half-expected her reaction so I laughed. I claimed her lips. This time intending to give-her a proper good-bye. I believe that I succeeded. She was still a bit dazed when I lifted her from my lap to place her on the bed. I was at her bedroom door when she at last spoke, "'Have a safe flight, Eric."
"Keep me posted min alskade."
Amelia wasn't in the kitchen as she said. At the stair head, I saw her sitting with her hands on her chin, looking at the living room below. She must have noticed my approach because she looked back at me and smiled. I helped her to stand up.
"You don't do things small huh, Eric?" Amelia asked as we went down the stairs.
"Hmm…" She must be the referring to the flowers and cakes that I asked to be delivered for Sookie (as an amend for my callousness on her show last night). A peace-offering. To my water goddess. So that I could freely worship on her altar.
"The delivery guys came when you two were preoccupied upstairs" She said.
"I owed her an apology for misbehaving last night. I believe." I winked at her.
"Then this…" She motioned for the living room "…is one helluva'n apology" She said impressed.
"Will she be, okay?" I couldn't help but ask.
"Don't know yet." She answered.
I abruptly stopped my descent to look at her.
"Laf and I will make sure that she's okay though." She added hastily.
I gave her an assessing glance before nodding. "Good."
"I see. Well then. Have a pleasant trip, big guy." She said as she led me out of the door.
I raised an eyebrow. "Big guy?"
She winked. "Aren't you?" She retorted in a playful tone.
Once outside her house, I pulled my phone out. I had one call to make.
"Fuck you- Eric" Andre answered irate in a sleepy voice.
"What took you so long to pick up, Andre?" I said when he finally answered his phone. I must have woken him up. Andre was my go-to guy for this kind of affair. He was the head of AP Unlimited- an agency that provides security for some of the biggest name in the country. It also specializes in surveillance and kidnap-for-ransom cases.
"Time-difference- asshole… It's 3 am here."
"I need a favor"
"There was a video leaked about me and a singer-"
I heard him laugh. "You? In a sex video?" He asked in disbelief.
I didn't bother correcting him. He'll know soon enough. "Sookie Stackhouse- that's her name"
He chuckled. "Nice."
"I want to know who the responsible party was."
"Who to punish, you mean?" He chuckled. "I'll visit you in a few days."
What I said to Eric was true. I had dealt with this kind of negative publicity before. I could still remember the first time, that I was really angry at something that the press had published about me.
It was during my first tour way back in 2002. Some tabloid had criticized me for having gained a few pounds. I picked up the paper, read the said article and started crying. Loudly. Pathetic, huh? But I thought the write-up was so mean-spirited, overblown, and hurtful. I was also in a lot of stress. That and I was still naïve enough to be surprised, hurt and infuriated.
I used to ponder (and complain) how media have turned for the worst. I remember my rants to Octavia (I was still with Amelia's aunt back then) and/or Preston that there used to be more integrity in journalism-even the tabloids. Where are peoples' manners, and their common decency towards one another? I used to ask that. My mindset before had been firmly adhered to the fallacy of the golden past. It did me no good. Oh well, I learned quickly enough not to expect idyllic stuff like that.
The worst that I had endured from the press was after my break up with Bill. It had been a really bad time for me. The operation that I had (and its grim consequence to my fertility), Bill's cheating and my insecurities had pushed me in a downward spiral of self-loathing. I hid in my house for a month. Utterly depressed. Sorely miserable.
Thankfully, I had my friends and family so I was able to bounce back. What do survivors used to say? Oh yeah. It didn't kill me, it made me stronger. Also as time passed, I had learned how to endure the negative media attention. And for my mental well being, I usually ignore reading any kind of negative articles written about me.
But no matter how jaded I am now, with these kinds of stuff, I would be lying to myself, if I said that I'm not angry or that there isn't any desire within me to hide from everyone. I was a bit ashamed too.
But my breakdown will come much later and it will be by my lonesome. My pity party will be scheduled when everything about this whole mess has been settled down.
Ice cream. Chocolate. Romance Novels. Chick flicks. Great…great stuff to alleviate my dark moods (anger, sadness & what-have-you.)
I made my bed and I decided to go downstairs, (1) to wait for Lafayette, (2) to eat breakfast and (3) because I cannot stay in my room and not think of what just happened earlier. I sighed. I knew that from now on, I'll have a hard time not imagining him here or not expecting him to be here each time I wake up.
Standing at the head of the stairs, I was surprised at what I saw. My living room below looked like a flower shop on Valentine's day. Flowers! Lots of them! Flowers that were placed either on elegant crystal vases or on hand-woven white baskets … Wow. The room below was filled with bouquets of assorted imported flowers. Eric. Who else?
I stood transfixed and at a loss as to how to respond at such gesture.
'From practically coercing me to be his bed mate to this?' He sure was great at giving me mixed…confusing… vague… mind-boggling signals.
"Amelia?" I called after awhile.
"In the kitchen, hun!" She hollered back.
I descended down the stairs. I wasn't an expert on identifying flowers in general, but I could name some of them. There were white tulips, different shades of ranunculus, pink apple blossoms, coral roses and some more that I couldn't name. On top of bouquet of white tulips, I saw a note perched. It read, 'For being a jerk last night, my angelic Sookie, I prostrate myself - E.
I laughed. Oh Lord. The 'jerk's' apology wasn't so bad. Over the top…yes. Grand…definitely. But not bad… Not bad at all… And I was immensely flattered. What girl would not be? Though in the future, I would tell him to refrain from doing this kind of stuff.
'In the future?' I groaned. I was beginning to hope… that was wrong and very dangerous. He sent all of these to secure my favor… so that I'll be persuaded to be his lover again… nothing more. That's the truth. It's stung but nonetheless it's the fact. And I prefer reality than some made up delusions.
'Enough with the negative thinking, Sookie', I told myself. I should enjoy the moment. As I should enjoy the moments that I'm going to spend with Eric… however brief that would be. He was a promise of a lot of uncomplicated fun. Emphasis on fun. I needed fun. I can have fun.
"So… uhm…he brought those, huh?" I said to Amelia when I reached the kitchen. She was slicing a piece of cake.
'Did he bring me a cake too?' Good God. But given the event that has transpired, I'm gonna need a lot of that...
"And this." She said as she handed me a piece of chocolate cake.
I took a bite and moaned in pleasure. I was quite sure that it was Sweet Surrender or orgasmic cake (as Amelia and I fondly called it). God, it was B.T.S. [Better than Sex]. "Is this what I think it is?" I asked. I took another delicious bite. Yum.
She nodded. "From Decadent Cravings. Apparently, a friend of Eric's owns the place." Lucky guy…
"Oh." Was all I that said. I took another bite… and then another… and once more… and then it was all gone. I 'inhaled' the whole thing within two minutes. Good-bye diet… "Amelia, hand me another piece- please." I requested, unable to control myself.
She did what I asked. "He's something isn't he?" She commented. Big understatement if you asked me. Eric was… I don't know… Eric! His name should be an expletive. My cheeks heated as I subconsciously recalled the number of times I've used (…shouted…moaned…) 'Eric!' as an expletive. 'Coz there were a lot…
"Jesus H. Christ…" Not the time…
"What made you utter thy lord's name in vain, Sookie?" Amelia teased. I thought I might have blushed some more. "I was just commenting on how thoughtful and generous he could be."
"That he is." I agreed. Thoughtful… giving… generous... no, no, no…
"So?" She asked.
"So what?" I asked back.
"You and Eric. What's the score between you two?"
"He is not taking no for an answer." I sighed. It was true. I also had a feeling of horrid inevitability—like when you see your car begin to roll downhill (though you're sure you left it in park), and you know there's no way you can catch up to it and put on the brakes, no matter how much you want to. That car is gonna crash.
She giggled. "Ooh-la-la"
I rolled my eyes.
"So, Eric now- is your boyfriend-apparent?" She grinned wide.
"You made it sound like he won an electoral race and that a formal proclamation is the only thing that hasn't happened yet."
"FB-Presumptive- more like it." I answered without thinking. Darn it. It was true nonetheless. At best - I'll be his fling. So why should I consider him more than what he had offered freely?
'What's holding us back from fucking?' Eric's words- verbatim. Fucking. Not Dating. Not having a relationship.
Amelia gaped at me. "oh…"
"You're the one who has advised me to take a libertine's stance with regards to sex." I said, remembering a certain late night conversation I had with Amelia, before going to Viking Island.
"You're using my advice?" She asked in disbelief.
"Why not?" I asked back.
She opened her mouth to say something. But nothing came out of it.
"Speechless?" I said coolly. "Good. Let's leave it for later. We have more important things on our plate at the moment."
It was a while before she spoke. And the zinger that Amelia hurled on me was something that I could not have braced myself for. Looking at me quizzically she said, "So Sookie, do fuck buddies usually give grand presents or give a fuck this much to their casual partner? 'Coz, I had FB's before. It's always, I-call-you-or-you-call-me-then-let's-fuck setup"
Shall I dare hope? I can't. As I said to myself earlier, I'm not gonna set myself up for disappointment. I don't need to fool myself into believing that what was happening meant anything or was special or anything else equally deluded. I will just hurt myself.
'I know, I know, but all the same…I love'.
Jesus H. Christ. Eric isn't exactly the right person for whom to quote R. Barthes for. Far from it. Roland Bathes. He is my favorite French scholar. I've already lost count on the number of times that I have read, A Lover's Discourse. It's not an easy read but the guy could nail, what it felt like to love (or be in love), so well.
The doorbell rang, cueing us that our discussion about my unexpected visitor was up. It was Lafayette. He had arrived.
"So that's it Laf?" I asked again. He had just finished carefully detailing the damage control measures that will be taken to ensure that this scandal doesn't ruin my career.
"Yup. Now that this shit has hit the fan, you can bet that the media will go into a feeding frenzy, which means starting today the paparazzi will be dogging your every move." I knew that. Although, I was a bit unsure on how to handle the extra-media attention.
Normally the press didn't seem to hound me the way they did other stars—not that they didn't want to. I lived a relatively private life and this had made it difficult for them. I wasn't the type to be caught up in the scandals that other celebrities were prey to. I wasn't into crashing cars or partying the night away, let alone being one of the stars in a scandalous video.
"So, Sookie needs to go under the radar?" Amelia asked.
"Just today and during the weekends." He looked at Amelia. "Have you canceled Sookie's schedule for the day? I want you two, to take a day off. The next coming days wouldn't be pleasant."
"Yup. I just called Sweetie and informed her that Sookie won't be able to come for the commercial shoot today. She didn't argue much. I rescheduled the shoot on Monday."
"Thanks hun." I said to Amelia
"How about legal actions? Are we gonna sue TMZ for this?"
"I've reconsidered that option. Many times. I've talked to our lawyers about it. We could sue for copyright infringement, invasion of privacy, defamation, emotional distress and what-nots. We can also petition for an injunction to limit the distribution of the video. But I doubt we will be successful. However, if we pursue this option, we could use this to our advantage. It will prolong the media hype on this video and thus the publicity that it generates. It's all up to you, Sookie."
"I'll think about it although my most likely answer is no." Like, hell no. It's not worth it.
"And it's generating enough publicity already without our help" Amelia said.
"It's not even a sex video. It's a make-out a video." I said irate.
"Drool. Imagine how steamy a sex video with Eric is. Watching- I mean. Doing it with him though that's something else entirely"
Lafayette smirked. "Well at least one of us doesn't need to use their vivid imagination to picture it. She has it on memory recall"
"Recent memory, I may add" Amelia giggled.
"Shut up you two."
"Okay then. So, as I said, we will not release any official statement until your mini-press conference before your birthday party." He repeated.
"I suppose the heat will have dissipated by then." I hypothesized.
Amelia nodded. "One could hope... "
I dearly hope that Charlie Sheen will do something ridiculous over the weekends or that tomorrow, Robsten will finally admit their not-so-secret relationship. Surely, that would trump my make-out video with Eric.
"In the meantime, MUM is the word, when it comes to what had happened." Lafayette explained further.
"How badly will this affect my career Laf?"
"'With my careful planning? It won't. All you needed is to project the right attitude and this whole unsavory shebang will be old news next month" He said confidently.
"So you think this scandal could actually make me even more bankable?" I asked.
"Like Paris or Kim." Amelia answered.
Before, everyone knew that the surest way to ruin politicians and celebrities was to raise a scandal over their private sexual indiscretions. But times have changed. Drastically. Sex videos today makes otherwise boring people seem interesting. And Paris and Kim's scandalous sex tape have catapulted them from anonymity into household names.
"Yup. You've seen the video. You looked fuckably gorgeous and sensual in it. We can turn this debacle towards our favor."
"Any publicity is a good publicity, huh?"
"Not really. It's only true if you've got a great PR/manager on your arsenal. And hun? Newsflash: You have one." He smiled.
I stood up and gave him a hug. "I know." He had always been there for me.
"Don't worry love. I'll make this all better. You'll see" He said reassuringly. And I believed him whole-heatedly.
"How about Eric?" I asked.
"I'll call him tonight to explain, hun. Don't worry" He paused for a second. "How about I let you explain to him?"
He and Amelia laughed.
"You do it." There was no way in hell that I will explain to Eric the fabricated truth about the video. He'll probably find a hundred different avenues to tease me about it. I could imagine him barraging me with a whole boatload of sexual innuendoes while I explain. Fun as it may seem to be, I'd rather not. It would just leave me extremely mortified (and maybe I would make little hot and bothered too).
Plus Eric could probably persuade me to have a phone sex. I never did that before. However, I had this sinking feeling that he could tempt me into doing anything. Great. Now, I couldn't suppress imagining what it would be like to engage in a phone sex conversation with Eric. With him telling me what he would do to my body… as I touch my body. With me telling him what I would like to do with him… as he touches his. With us simultaneously moaning in pleasure… as we reach our peaks…
I shivered at the stray thought. Oh Right. Lafayette should definitely explain.
"I have booked you both at 1pm to an all inclusive bridal package to Spa V" Bridal what? I didn't get that. I was a bit dazed.
"Bridal package? That's kinda Ironic" Amelia snorted.
"Ironic. Yes. But it's of very good value."
"What bridal package? What's ironic? Who's gonna marry?" I asked. Again, they laughed. Amelia accused me of not listening. Lafayette asked me what has gotten me so pre-occupied that I was absent mentally.
So he repeated that he had scheduled Amelia and me for a spa to unwind and de-stress.
And he was absolutely right. That afternoon, I felt as though I had died and gone to spa heaven. My body was waxed, scrubbed, wrapped and massaged; my hair was relaxed, colored and conditioned; my face was re-hydrated; my brows were plucked and painted.
By the time Amelia and I stepped out- a full seven hours later- we were grinning wide- we felt like goddesses.
And guess what? I canceled my pity party that night. Snap
February 06: Sookie's study.
"The paparazzi and the gossip hounds seems like they have declared an open season on me and Eric, huh?" I commented to Amelia. She was sitting on the sofa busy reading one of the tabloids that where stacked neatly on the coffee table.
On the other hand, I was checking the twitter stream on my unofficial account (southernbelle20). I didn't bother opening the official one- I've relegated that arduous task to Amelia. I knew my 'IamSookieStackhouse' were full of mentions and/or direct messages from my fans, or friends or the press expressing either their support, ridicule, question, interview request… & what-have-you. The same thing can be said for email account.
I was discouraged by both Lafayette and Amelia to do this. I was persuaded to carry out my usual activity. Relax. Work-out. Read potential movie scripts. Practice the last few songs that were included in my 4th album. Review notes for the Buzz. Etcetera, etcetera. Initially, I was on board with the plan.
They were thoughtful and I really appreciated that. So at first, I let them sort through the swamp of gossip articles about me and Eric.
That changed yesterday. For once again, our names were splashed all over the tabloids. This time it was because the paparazzi have photographed Eric leaving my house. The photos have raised a new wave of speculations about our so-called affair.
And I was tired of protecting my (so-called) mental well-being. I am not a weakling. I can handle the negative stuff that the press throws at me. I'm done hiding. Tomorrow, I'll resume my schedule... in public. And I am confident that I can do it.
Anyway it's not as if I could concentrate on anything- right now. I tried and failed. Today, I was supposed to be reviewing a script for a movie called Dying for Daylight. I was considering the role of Dahlia (a 1000 year-old vampire from Rhodes) who was sent by her master to New Orleans in search for a potion that will render (the vampire drinker) immunity to the sun.
But I couldn't focus on the script.
I wanted to be in the know. I needed to be informed. I glanced at Amelia (she was still engrossed with what she's reading) before I continued reading the twitter feed.
-Bitch back! Sookie remains mum about the leaked video (Link). I rolled my eyes. 'Like y'all expect me to give an exclusive about it...
-Caught! Eric leaving Sookie's house (Link). Damn those blood hounds and with their powerful telephoto lenses . They really were a pain in the ass.
-Sookie Stackhouse Insider: "It Feels Like a Big Act" (Read more...). How I wish that was the case. It would have been so much easier if this is just some mumbo jumbo concocted by my manager and his people.
-Poll: Should Sookie date Eric? Think About It and vote here -http…. I clicked the link and voted 'Not Sure' (Coy... I know... don't judge me) on the page that popped up. The poll results appeared and (what do you know), it was 60-35 in favor of 'yes'. The remaining 5 % (like me) voted 'not sure'.
-Sookie and Eric intense talk- but what about. Easy! It's about our steamy ONS in Viking Island: Its Implication and my negative stance towards continuing the dalliance.
-New Couple Alert: Sookie Stackhouse and Eric Northman. Couple? Hardly.
-Sookie's New boy toy. Now that's more like it. He's my stud and I'm his b… I giggled.
-Sookie gun-shy about dating her new man. Ha!
-Sookie and Eric: What's Love Got to Do With It? http… My sentiments exactly… I grinned.
"What are you smiling about?"
"'Just some silly tweets from e-online and Ted C." I rolled my eyes. "They also dubbed our conversation. It's so off the tangent. It's funny"
"I wonder if they hired experts on lip reading for that one." Amelia said.
"I won't discount it." I continued reading.
-Morning Piss: Is Sookie's New Man Ready to Be a BF? No.
-Bitch-Back! What Does Yvetta Say About Sookie? http... I grimaced at that. I clicked the link and read (Well… well… well… somebody is in denial). I allowed myself a few moments to privately gloat. Boo-ya. In-your-face. Hell yeah. Last week, admittedly I was so jealous and pissed at her. Well, now the tables have turned.
-Sookie: Cause of Eric and Yvetta's break-up.
-Yvetta's Rep: They're still good 'friends'. Right. I pouted.
"You should know better than to read those shits."
"Hmm…I know. But it's nice to know what they're printing about me." I answered.
"Your official account twitter is much more interesting. I'm tempted to tweet, 'I'm not dating Eric Northman-yet' complete with wink, wink" Amelia said.
"Don't you dare." I gasped. I read a tweet from Ted C. "Oh! I think I'm nominated for the Ho, Ho, Ho, awards"
"For closet Ho?" She laughed
"Yup. No contenders" I said proudly. I know that the only way that I could deal with such thing is to not take it personally (just a little). Maybe find some humor in it.
"Stop reading it Sook."
"It's really kinda humorous in a very perverse and dark way Ames. Me: the closet ho'. If they only knew..." that till Eric I was…
"You've changed a lot from that girl who cried about because of an article telling her she was fat."
"Did Octavia tell you that incident?"
"That she did." She smiled.
I shook my head.
My phone rang. Amelia answered it. "No. This is Amelia Broadway her personal assistant… No, I'm afraid she is not available… Yes, I would take your message… Okay, I'll relay it to her… Good-bye"
"Who was it?" I asked curious. Amelia has been screening my calls since Friday.
"Jennifer Cater, she would like to invite you for a cameo in her show" that will never happen…
"Several packages from Chanel and Gucci have arrived. And someone sent you a cute Louis Vuitton Murakami." I actually salivated at that. I have deep love for hand bags."You also have a ton of phone messages."
"Thirty plus or so came from the press requesting an interview. I respectfully turned them down as per Lafayette's order. I told them to wait for your mini-press con."
"Five calls came from your family."
"Really? Who?" This would be dreadful. I haven't called any of them yet since the incident. Chicken-shit- I know. I probably should return their calls this afternoon.
"Mama Stackhouse said 'give her a call, ASAP'."
I winced. I should probably call her first. I dearly love my mom but she can be judgmental sometimes. Nagging too…
"Jason asked if you're okay. Papa Corbette said he wants to meet this new guy of yours before you do this kind of thing." Amelia winked.
"Oh God. That's all, right?" I asked hopeful.
"Adele asked when you will come for a visit. She also said that she's happy for you." My gran really was quite accepting and open-minded.
"And the last call?"
"'From Hadley- she said punkin' you're one lucky bitch. Is he a good kisser?"
"Not done yet." She continued. "Work-related calls. Mark asked to speak to you. I directed him to Lafayette."
"Niall, Claudine, several the Buzz staff, expressed their support."
I sighed. "Thank you for not making me, answer them."
"IalsocalledEric." She said this so fast, I had to think for a second to comprehend what she said.
"What?" I blurted when I realized what she meant.
"I told him about, him being photograph by the papz when he left here two days ago."
"Nothing. He just asked me if you're okay and how you're taking it."
"Oh." I said a bit mollified.
"I wish some of my FBs before were this caring and thoughtful." She teased.
I cleared the sudden lump that has formed in my throat. "Uhm, what did you say?"
"'Told him you're taking it really well, which isn't a lie and that he needed not to worry."
"He's worried?" I bit my lips.
"'Course he is Sook." She said seriously.
"Then… then I guess it's good that you called him. I…"
"'Want a subject change?" She said smiling. "You're blushing."
"You're a bitch. And of course you are absolutely right."
"Preston called and he said that he'll call back later and that he won't be able to make it to your birthday."
I nodded. That's a bummer. It would have been nice if he could come.
"JB called too … he asked if you're okay and if you want him to drop by and 'hang-out." She gave me a questioning look.
I shook my head. "Don't ask."
"Oh and majority from the guest list RSVP'd already."
"Uh-huh. Speaking of invites… should I-?"
"No." I was certain at this. Eric Northman will not be present in my party.
"And why the hell not- Sookie Stackhouse?" She said indignantly.
"Because I don't want to stir the beehive further especially on my birthday." I said calmly. I hope that it appealed to her reasoning.
"He'll be seen with you eventually" she pouted. She was team Eric.
"No. He won't- if it came to be, our presumptive relationship will be discreet." I said with finality.
BLOW office- February 09
The business trip in New York had been much needed. Overall, it went off without a hitch. There, he had visited the branches of their company including several Northman breweries in Adirondacks, Lakeshore and NYC. The last four days indeed had been a very busy.
Now, I was back. After spending half a day in my office, catching up with the piles of stuff that had accumulated during my absence, I went to BLOW office, to check on Pam.
Inside the modern editorial room, I saw Pam (alone) talking to someone on her cell phone. She was quite engrossed with the conversation that she didn't notice my presence.
"Puñeta! Of course she's lying!" She screamed into the mouthpiece. Ballistic. I actually felt pity for the person on the other line.
"I don't give a fuck! Shove a whole bottle of Pepto-Bismol down her throat, for all I care! I have a photographer waiting in the studio. We have a cover to shoot. If her ass doesn't show up here in 30 minutes" She growled. "Tell her that she can kiss her career good-bye." She ended the call. She was fuming.
"Pam, you have so much compassion and good sisterly vibes within you." I said with a laugh.
"You know that I learned from the best." She gave me a hug when she reached me. We sat on the chairs that circled the table. "The bitch's excuse for not showing up was stomach upset, as if. She probably got wasted on coke or E last night at the after-party."
Like Pam will let a model with a substance abuse problem or a bum tummy ruin her perfect schedule.
"So you're back. I take it that your trip to New York went well?" She inquired.
"It did." Other than an hour delay with my flight, it was fine.
"So here's your card." She said as she handed the AmEx to me. "I didn't put a big dent on it, if you must know."
Interesting. "Why?" She knew my card had an unlimited cash advance. Something was up.
"Nothing." She gave me an eye-roll. "So look at you, sitting here gorgeous as ever."
I looked at her intently. Why must she always try to bullshit me? I laughed. From being previously snarling bitch to this? I wonder what she was buttering me up for.
"So you've been quite popular these days, huh?" I really have to credit Pam's piss-poor attempt to do small-talk.
"Pam what's going on?" She tried (and failed) to look confuse. It didn't really suit her well. She had much to learn in the art of bullshit.
"You're prevaricating. Stop it."
"I'm not beating around the bush. I'm just a tad bit concerned about you." She pouted.
"It's fine. I'm fine. I haven't been hounded or spotted by those blood thirsty paparazzi…" Except for that time when I left Sookie's home.
"Look at you, kusin. You are so showbiz, now. ." She laughed. "Aunt Sophie called me by the way."
I winced. "How did that go, brat?"
"It was interesting." She answered vaguely.
I sighed. "Great" I answered uninterested. I had a sinking feeling of what my next visit to the Camara would be like.
"I told her the official version of the story."
I nodded. Lafayette, who was Sookie's manager called me three days ago to explain 'what-really-happened' on the backstage of the Buzz and 'why-it-did happen'. And since my visit to Sookie's house has been publicized too, (thanks to those asshole photographers who were able to sneak around her gated neighborhood) Lafayette also fabricated an official version of event for that.
And I, in turn informed my PA (Ness) and Pam.
"So, I had an idea-"
"That's sounds interesting." I deadpanned.
"Alfred, get your ass over here! Pronto!" Pam shouted. Alfred Cumberland or Al as I usually called him was the premier photographer and lay out artist for BLOW. I was friendly with Al. He was a genius with his high tech. camera.
"Eric, bro! Whatzup? Wow. I saw the stint that you had on the Buzz and…" He paused. "…your make-out video too. You're the man, bro. So is Sookie really hot in person? She was smokin' hot…" He rambled on.
"Speaking of Sookie, as I said I have this brilliant idea that I have to come by you." said Pam.
"And what would that be, Pam?"
"You know Eric you're absolutely right, having Sookie Stackhouse on a BLOW cover and centerfold would shoot up our sales sky high."
Al nodded eagerly.
"What?" I blurted.
"Yup. I think it's a great idea. Our centerfolds always have been young starlets and models. They all lacked something. They don't have a depth in their personalities. Shallow, I supposed. So, why not feature a woman who has real substance? Someone who has reached the peak of their careers already… A woman who has class and sophistication and still has that sexy, naughty, come-to-mama streak…"
"Naughty come-to-mama streak?" I repeated in disbelief.
"Yes. There's a lot of men who has been linked to Sookie but she's very private about her love life, except for that Compton-guy a few years back who turned out to be… cheating on her… and well… " Me
I glared at her before she could say something stupid in front of Al.
"Er…Her mystery as a woman never waned." She continued. "She's more elusive now than ever and people, especially younger men are just dying to get a peek of Miss Stackhouse's ahm… private assets. I find her to be the perfect centerfold for our March issue. And it was your idea."
My answer had been automatic. The thoughts of millions of men drooling over Sookie's ample breasts and killer legs brought murder to his mind. "No." I gave Pam a death glare. "Absolutely not."
Pam grimaced. "Why not? She's fucking perfect and it was your idea!" She argued back.
"I don't think she'll agree to this." I was absolutely sure she wouldn't accept.
"Leave it to me. I'll make her agree"
I laughed. "She wouldn't. And if there is even a miniscule chance that you could make her agree, her manager may demand a fat paycheck."
"Hmm…" Pam paused. "Maybe we can make an exception. Sookie may cost us but I'm sure, she would sell every copy." She was clearly sold on her idea. And I had a feeling she was right businesswise.
But Sookie was my personal business and she was not subject to any negotiation. I could imagine her posing for BLOW, seductive, provocative, a mixture of innocence and boldness in one delectable body. She would be every man's fantasy.
"She won't agree into this Pam. Leave it be." And I as well, disagree. Vehemently.
"How do you know?"
"The woman has a certain image." I could remember offering her to pose for BLOW. But fuck, I was just teasing her. I don't expect her to agree.
I just wanted to tease her about it because she was being snappish to me. And the fact that she's a virgin until two weeks ago was an indication that she isn't as sophisticated as she would like other people to believe. She's really quite conservative.
"Hmmm… what if I could convince her?" She pressed.
I gave her a wry laugh. "You couldn't"
"I sense a challenge coming kusin. Do you want to make a bet on it?"
"Will you coerce her?" I smiled.
"Of course not. I'm afraid of you." She grinned.
"No you're not brat."
"I have big respect for you kusin. Will you just give me a green light to offer?" She pushed further on.
I didn't answer. Al was lingering unobtrusively, looking at us like we were an interesting tv show.
"Maybe you actually think I have a chance. And your…"
"She. Won't. Agree." I reiterated.
"Then let her decline the offer. What if I could convince her?"
"Then you've got yourself a centerfold for BLOW March."
Pam gave a resounding 'YES!' complete with a fist pump. I smiled. I vowed not to make this happen.
"Alrighty" Al shouted too. He excused himself not long after. He said that he had a great idea on the conceptual design for March issue.
"Why are you smiling?" She asked.
"Haven't you heard of the saying about not counting your chicks before they're hatched?"
"I have. I'm just that confident that I could convince her."
I shrugged. "We'll see." She didn't know Sookie.
"I'm not the one who's losing touch kusin"
"Really." Pam raised an eyebrow. "So have you been invited?"
"To what?" I hate parties. If my mother had another party, I will have to schedule a business trip just to have a legitimate excuse not to be there.
"On Valentine's Day." Pam waggled her eyebrow.
"Pam…" I said in a warning tone.
"I don't think she will invite me on a date on Valentine's day." I would consider it a miracle if she ever did. Sookie seemed to have this avoid-Eric-at-all-cost mindset. It befuddles me.
"Will you invite her- then?"
I thought about that for a second. It seemed like a good idea. But I gave Sookie my word. "No."
She swatted me on the arm. "Why not?" She shot me with a don't-be-stupid look.
I sighed. "I gave her my word that I'll leave her be for two weeks." Two weeks. Two fucking long weeks, when we could be having sex right now already.
"Half- a month?" She clarified. "Oh God. Eric. And you agreed?" She said clearly surprised. She snickered. Pam dearly enjoyed heckling with me.
"Shut up. Just because I'm trying to do good by her" Shit. Great. Supply your bitch cousin with more ammo.
"Well I believe that you should ask her out on the said day."
"Pam I'm tempted to strangle you already. Why don't you push me further?" I challenged.
"It's Sookie's birthday on the 14th and I learned that a big party will be thrown for her birthday bash at the Pyramid of Gizeh Hotel" Her eyes were twinkling as she said this.
"Hmm." I said by way of reply. No one told me about this. Not Amelia or Lafayette. It made me wonder. I was also growing impatient about being in the dark on Sookie. Maybe I could ask Andre to conduct a little background information on her.
I remembered Sookie's words about me stalking. A B.I. would definitely be classified as one. I chuckled inwardly at that.
Well, convincing her was quite akin to a company take-over. Do an extensive research. Plan all the way to the end. Execute the take-over with decisiveness.
Take-overs. They can be hellish but once you stake your claim everything falls into place.
"You wanted to do good by her? Then don't let her celebrate it alone."
"She isn't alone"
"Loveless. Thirty. Valentine's Day. The Trifecta of Misery for a Mature Successful Woman. Do you get my drift?"
I remained silent for a long while weighing my options. In the end I said, "I guess I have a party to attend then."
"Good. I also promised Auntie that I'll deliver this message." She smiled.
"What is it?"
"She said- quote unquote- Mess with my guest performer for our wedding anniversary-"
I didn't let her finish her statement. I don't need to hear this shit from Pam. "Tell her, 'message delivered". I'll be seeing my mother soon enough. I stood up. She did too.
"Wait." She grabbed me by the arm to stop me. "You haven't heard the most amusing part."
"It's about wedding bells, rings and grandbabies." I said dryly. "So- no. Just- no"
"She likes Sookie."
Uh-oh. That's not a good sign. I mean, I like Sookie too… just not the way my mom wanted it. I like her moaning in my bed (or on her bed... kitchen... shower... wherever- the location isn't really important). I guess I like to get to know her too. I'm infinitely curious about her. That's true. But other than that… wait…who was I kidding? There's nothing other than that. Right.
"So unless you want to get up close and personal to the version of Aunt Sophie-Anne that could scare the living daylights out of other people…" Bitch…
I laughed. "Yeah. Noted. Bye"
As I walked towards the parking lot, my mind automatically drifted back to the woman who had been the stuff of my fantasies for the past two weeks. Sookie Stackhouse brought back the sweet urge to fuck all over again in a brand new exhilarating way.
The feeling that she evoked in me was akin to what I felt like when I was a teenager… when just the thought of a great pair of tits can make my dick twitch in reaction…
I had missed that feeling of excitement coupled with wild curiosity… the instant fluttering of my belly and the tightening of my throat as I thought of Sookie's smooth creamy skin… her sweet scent… her heady taste…
I knew she won't come to me easily. But where women were concerned, I had a PhD in charming the lot of them. Ms. Stackhouse was no exception.
She may be snotty, elusive, unapproachable, and haughty but no matter- patience and careful planning trumps any obstacle that she throws at me.
I am patient.
'I'm the one who waits.' Shit. Pam should really pay for making me read Barthes.
Feb 11- Joan's on 2nd Restaurant
I went out for a Brunch with Lafayette. It was at Joan's On Second, one of my favorite restaurants in LA. However today, we didn't sit outside like we normally do (slight precaution from papz and all...). I had just taken a bite out of my grilled cheese sandwich when I saw Lafayette looking at me concerned. "Hun, are you alright?"
I smiled. "Of course. You and Amelia should really stop asking me if I'm okay." I gave him a mock glare. "It seriously pisses me off."
"Don't worry. If I felt like having a Sookie Pity Party, I promise you and Amelia will be on my guest list."
He smiled. "So, have you read the proposal that I sent you yesterday about the BLOW-thing? He asked hopeful.
"Why didn't you?"
"I mean- no. I decline. Thanks but no thanks"
He pouted. "No?"
"Uh huh. No. Never ever, never, never ever, never." I couldn't believe what Lafayette was suggesting- Me. Sookie. Centerfold for BLOW? Ridiculous.
"Ever?" He laughed.
"Never" I giggled. "You can't be serious Laf. I know Eric offered me to pose as a centerfold for BLOW but I can't believe your actually considering it." And I can't believe Eric has the audacity to ask me formally to do such a thing.
"Come on Sook. This could boost your publicity"
"I know right. Because I'm not getting any lately."
He sighed. "No. But I think it's high time that we add a new facet to your image as a celebrity. The emergence of a truly empowered Sookie Stackhouse. Sexy. Provocative. Confident. Beautiful- inside out"
"I just did- I added Scandalous Sookie, to the repertoire, remember?"
"Sook… be serious"
"I really don't need to pose in titillating manner to gain self-affirmation that I'm beautiful and sexy. I'm aware of it already." I sipped from my cup. Alamid Coffee. The label said it was imported from Amadeo, Cavite. It was pricey (30 dollars/cup). I guess it's because the coffee beans have to pass through the bearcat's gut (and yes... pass it out too) and that people have to search the forest floor for this cat's poop. I know it sounds disgusting (but the beans are cleaned, dried and then roasted) but its delicious. The texture is so smooth and acidity is almost absent. It's also quite rare.
"Hmm" He smiled mischievously. "Is that the true reason?"
"What else is there?"
"Oh I don't know. Maybe, it's because of some really, really, really, really, really ridiculously good-looking blonde. I bet Eric has something to do with your reservations to pose for BLOW."
I rolled my eyes. "It's not because of him, okay." It's not… really... absolutely...
"Sookie, be reasonable hun, believe me this will further boost your bankability as a celebrity"
"You know, that I have enough offers at the moment. In fact, you just told me the other day that you've receive several more after the scandal"
"I think you're chicken" He accused jokingly.
"I'm not chicken!"
"Prove it. Show me a gutsy and bold Sookie Stackhouse" He challenged.
"Forget this BLOW thing. Okay? I'm not that desperate." I said a bit exasperated.
He shot me a frustrated look. "You're almost thirty. 'Hardly a minor, darling... And it's not some thrashy magazine. It's BLOW. Even Demi Moore and Madonna had posed nude. That's the trend. Women have arrived big time, hun. You have your mindset stuck."
I closed my eyes for the moment. Me. A BLOW Centerfold? I winced. No… hell no…
It was afternoon and I was killing time- waiting for my pilates session to start- when my phone beeped, signaling that I had text message. I was surprised because it was from Eric's mobile.
It read, 'U. ok.? -E.'.
It was the first time that I had a direct contact with him since last Friday. Amelia called him. Lafayette did too- twice. If I was honest with myself I could say that I was expecting him to show up or call me the moment he came back from New York. He didn't. No visits. No calls. No texts. He remained silent. I don't know if I should be annoyed or happy about it.
I really should learn to guard and check myself for unrealistic expectations.
He agreed to give me 'space' for 2 weeks. He was honoring my request. So why was there a small part of me that was frustrated with that. A very small part- I tried to convince myself. Tiny. Minuscule. Relatively Negligible. Right.
I sent one telling him that I was fine and I received a reply saying, 'i c'. Uhg! That was all? Honestly, how did one respond to 'I see.'? What does 'I see' meant? Did that mean, he understood?
It took me awhile to respond simply because I can't think of anything to say without sounding idiotic or bitchy or clingy or… desperate
Great. Good talk. Bye. -Dismissive and rude. I deleted that.
E., ur txt sux. - Immature but perversely satisfying. I canceled that reply too.
What's wrong with you just calling me? - Clingy and assuming. Eww
I was tempted to respond, 'k' [okay]. I wonder if that would irritate five minutes of deliberation, I texted back, 'Tnx. U, ok?'. I know. I know. It's not exactly one of my finest moments in text messaging history. But I was tired of over thinking or deciphering what, 'I c' connotated. It was just two words… scratch that… it was just two letters.
His reply to my message came after five minutes. It said, 'Yup. Let's meet. U free nxt Mon.?'.
Oh, Monday. No. I can't. I won't. The press will have a field day if Eric shows up at the Pyramid of Gizeh.
'No. Wed.?', I offered as an alternative.
I waited. I waited some more. He hasn't replied. I tried to remain calm. Maybe he got busy at work and therefore unable to respond. It's only 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
My pilates session with Mari started and ended- No reply. Impolite jerk.
I leveled up twice in Treasure Isle, a game in Facebook that I was currently addicted to - and still there was no text message from him.
7o'clock came and went, then 9o'clock and still nothing. I was starting to worry. It was midnight when I'd finally gotten a text from Eric.
'See U then', it simply said.
* So what do you think? Was Sookie's reaction towards the negative press appropriate? It has been re-written. It was changed from embittered and shocked Sookie to mildly anxious (but trying to find a humor in it) Sookie because (1) she's been in the limelight for 10yrs, (2) of the presence of support persons.
Should Sookie reconsider Pam's offer?
S on E: FB or BF? lol
**Next Chapter will center on Sookie's bday. Feb 14. Valentine's Day.
***Chapter 12 is entitled, Like a coda with a curse. So uhm (fidgets nervously)… see you then. C12Teaser: It will be posted on my tumblr account and in the review replies.
Disclaimer and other stuffs: Charlaine H. owns all the characters (and uhm I burrowed several lines from the SVM books, can you identify the less popular ones?). While some of the plot lines were inspired by the romance novel author Eve M.
Sorry… (1) For late update... my excuse (sorry, I know) was I fused what should have been c12&c13. (2) The places in New York that I have mentioned were bogus. I really have no effing idea about it (I haven't been to N.Y.)… I googled places for Breweries in New York, though. lol. (3) Sookie's first time with negative write ups- that was Britney Spears' experience. (4) My errors in grammar and spelling. (5) Tweets used have been altered and taken from Ted C and e-online.
Next update will be on Mon, Apr 11, 2pm GMT. I know. I know. I might not update again in time (grins). But there's an advantage to this. For me it's like setting a deadline (a very public one). This way, I'm pressured (in a good way) to write... You see I procrastinate a lot… a lot… lot. And I have a tendency to let things stew. And I wanted to finish this story before the end of April… And I'm rambling… Anywho… thanks for your patience.
Not SCKL related:
*Book11 Stuff: Hey, have you read Chap 3 of Dead Reckoning? Eric strangling Pam? Eric playing the dictator? Damn, I feel so awful for our beloved Viking. He's so stressed. And how about Pam's plan to make a new child? Hmm… And Pam trying to tell the truth to Sookie… (2Thumbs up). Fuck, Victor. That douche bag is a regent now? (And Vic's Readneck Roadhouse? lol). I hope he's dead by the end of book 11.
Sookie has matured quite well. I'm really impressed. I hope she doesn't break up with Eric. T-T
I also wish that its May already.
**Have you read the story, It Can't Be by Ericizmine? It's great. And she updates at Vampire Speed. Its true- last week it was almost every day.
'Really, really amazing so I'm promoting it. =D
***Oh and Texanlady and NYCSnowbird are the authors of the month for April or something. The Arrangement- great…great… great TB fanfic epic- ever. And uhm, its 59 chapters + side stories had been compiled in a Microsoft reader e-book format (.lit)… So uhm, if you want to read/re-read this amazing fic at your leisure… the mediafire link is in the comment section of the Cabin Adventures pt3. lolz
Till next update,