Author's Notes: It has been far too long.
Sorry about the delay, but I had troubles with my laptop. It crashed, and I lost everything. I'm not going to ramble on about everything, but I do hope you forgive me, and I do hope I still have readers. :)
Now that is over and done with—Hello! I've missed you all! :P
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to post two chapters to this as I would have liked, like the others, but this one came out pretty long, right? ;)
I won't take up your time, so go on and read—if anyone is left that is. Lol!
I own nothing, nada, zip, zilch!
Chapter five - Bad person
"She hates me." Eric's voice filtered in my left ear, his warm breath tickling it. I jumped a millimeter away from him, turning around to pin him with a glare that meant business—not to creep up on me like that. "Have you seen the way she has been giving me the death glare?"
I sighed, putting down the spoon and opting for my fingers to reach in the fruit bowl, and grab myself a grape.
Did I give a shit?
"It's not like I haven't felt her eyes following our every move, Eric." I replied, turning around and leaned against the table. "But, she doesn't know who you are. I doubt that she hates you, but I can't say the same for me."
I looked down at the grass before my eyes flew up to the sky. I took in a shaky breath, and slowly let it out. I felt a stinging in my eyes, but that stopped so suddenly as Eric's hand came down on my side, his other fingers finding their way to my chin, and forcing me to look at him.
"Whatever melt down you are about to have—stop. We really don't need the waterworks to start flowing, because then, our cover would be totally blown."
"You are a heartless bastard." I mumbled with a shake of my head, and a roll of my eyes.
"No." Eric whispered flatly. "I'm not being heartless, Sookie, I'm being smart."
"Says the guy with the really big, fat head," I growled, turning back around and grabbing for another grape. "You know how hard this is on me. I should have told her. I should have warned her firsthand before I brought your ass along."
"Why didn't you?" He said in a rather soft way.
It creeped me out.
"And how was I supposed to tell her? What would I even say? Or even where to begin with that conversation?" I chewed on my bottom lip, ducking my head down slightly. "I'm walking on very thin ice, and I thought that maybe if I treaded lightly, I wouldn't fall through."
"When in reality," He stopped to think for a moment, "the ice was already cracked to begin with, and you found yourself falling into the icy water below?" He chuckled. "That's got to be the gayest thing I have said all year so far."
"Funny," I scolded hotly. "But yes, that is exactly how I feel right now."
Eric sighed heavily. "Just relax, Sookie. We'll get through this, and then we'll go back to New York after everything is said and done, and nothing has to change."
"You can bet your ass things will have to change."
I turned around to look at him again, this time fully.
"You can't just think that we will get this over with and then we can go back to our lives like nothing ever happened; that nothing ever changed." I huffed. "Eric, they keep tabs on people. If we aren't living together, doing all that relationship crap, they won't buy into it. They will know we are frauds, and then that would totally suck, because I would rather not go to jail over this."
"Move in? Into my apartment?"
"Sorry, I guess you didn't think that far ahead did you?" I chuckled for the first time. "Yes, Mr. Northman, you will be getting a roomie as soon as we touch down in New York after this whole fiasco."
For a moment there, I thought he was going to die. He stopped breathing, or it looked like he did. I waited for him to just kill over, so I didn't have to go through with it anymore, but that didn't happen. He took a deep breath through his nose, and let it out of his mouth slowly.
"Yeah, I guess we will have to move in together…" Oh, I could feel the anger snapping at me from where he stood. The anger in his tone could set the surrounding area around us on fire.
"And…I won't be paying any bills!" I smirked. "The life of a wife!"
"You think that just because you will be technically married to me, that I won't make you pay some of the bills?" He laughed this time. "Dear girl, you must be crazy."
I raised an eyebrow. "If you want me to continue with this lie, then the 'no bills' will be included."
"I thought we already negotiated?"
"Well that's the beauty of having time to think about things, and the one offering the help…" Giggling, I continued, "I have all the time in the world to come up with other things that you just have to give to me, to keep me doing this."
"You know, when you said that I was the spawn of the devil, I think you got that wrong." He glared. "You definitely are worse than me."
"Hey, so you did hear me call you that!"
Just then, Eric leaned forward, smiling a breathtaking smile and one that I had not planned on ever seeing. He bent so far that his lips came in contact with my cheek, and I froze.
What the hell…?
"Sookie, it's so nice to see that you are back in town!" A woman's voice came from my left side.
I turned away from Eric's lips, trying to put some distance between us, and my eyes met Maxine Fortenberry. I mentally groaned out in dissatisfaction.
"So, this must be the man that everyone is talking about around here!" Her eyes darted to Eric, and a huge smile broke across her face. Her lipstick cracked slightly as she did. "Now, who must you be? Sookie's man? That is quite lovely; she hasn't dated in a few years, from what I noticed. Since…"
"Maxine!" I jumped in before she could finish that sentence. I grabbed her around the shoulders and brought her into my chest tightly, hugging her close. "It is so good to see you. How is Hoyt?"
"He is doing just fine. He's getting off work and coming over here with your brother in just a few minutes. Just talked to him on my cellphone." She held up the device. "I don't know why I never got one of these things before. They must be the best invention in the history—"
"That's great, Maxine." I cut her off, turning to Eric. "This is Eric, he's my…my…"
My eyes fell behind Maxine's head to see Gran standing not too far off. She held up her right hand, curled her fingers, and beckoned to be. My stomach dropped, my heart seemed to falter, and I had the sensation to run far, far away. She didn't look too thrilled with me.
"Sookie…?" Eric asked, snapping me back into reality.
"Um, G-Gran is calling for me. You, uh, you stay here while I go see what she wants."
"Of course," He said in a too cheery tone. "I'll just man the fruit bowl while you are gone."
"Talk to Maxine, but don't say anything yet." I whispered in his ear as I leaned up to kiss his cheek for a cover up.
"Talk to this loon? Are you serious?" His deadpan voice almost made me feel bad for him. I knew how Maxine could be.
"Have fun." I said, after the momentary kindness wore off.
And I darted away before he could grab ahold of me.
But as soon as I edged closer to my usually loving Gran, I slowed my pace quite a bit. I felt like I was doing the walk of shame, like I had got my hand caught in the cookie jar, and all the other quotes that would fit into this situation.
She turned on her heel as I edged closer, and began walking further in the backyard. She had a destination in mind, and when I saw where we were going I groaned a bit. Gran was heading to the wooden bench swing. It is where we always had our serious conversations, and that alone left me tittering to the edge of a high cliff. Oh, she was beyond upset.
I looked down at my feet as I walked, and didn't notice I had come close to the swing before I ran into it. My face, my nose smashed against the wood in one strong bang. I toppled to the side, gripping my nose tightly in my right hand. My feet curled in my shoes, my eyes watered, and I kept murmuring 'owww' in a nasally way.
My ears picked up on a laughing, something I wasn't quite expecting in the mix of things. Peering over, through watering eyes, Gran slapped her knee as she erupted into a giggle fit. I almost smirked, thinking my clumsiness saved me from probably the worst conversation I would ever have with her.
"Nice going, Sookie dear." She shook her head.
And then the air around us seemed to shimmer, as the laughing was replaced with an eerily, and chilly silence. The spark in her eyes died so quickly that I shrunk back, waiting on the wrath that was hiding just below the surface. Who ever thought my Gran could look this freaking scary? Obviously not this girl.
My clumsiness didn't help shit.
Gran walked to the swing and sat down. All too quickly her hand came down and patted the seat next to her—more than patting, it was like two big slams in my ears, like the nails on the coffin. My eyes twitched. She patted them again, this time, a little bit stronger. I didn't wait any longer, as I practically jumped on the swing next to her. I didn't want to find out what happened if she had to pat that damn seat for a third time.
Her arm snaked around my shoulders, and I cringed as she spoke, "Sookie, it would have been really wonderful to tell me that you were bringing a guest. I mean, it isn't that hard to pick up a phone, you know."
Her arm tightened around my shoulders, her fingers overlapping and patting my left. Her words were sarcastic.
"And I would have loved to hear that you were bringing a man with you—"
"Er, well, you see—"
"And it would have been a great heads up, if you told me that it was your boss, the man you supposedly hate—"
"Gran—" I nearly begged.
"Or the fact that, I believe, you are dating him, with the way you are acting all lovey dovey with one another—"
"Gran, I'm getting married!" I yelled over her.
Oh God….Oh God…Oh God! No-o-o-o!
I did not mean to say that. It slipped out of my mouth before I could filter my own thoughts. I had been trying to find a way to work up to it, and then that happened. I just…let it fall from my mouth because I couldn't keep my trap shut and think of a logical way to bring it forth. Yeah, this isn't good—actually this is very, very bad.
The silence was deafening. My heart pounded up into my throat, lodging itself in there, making me unable to bring forth the effort to breathe. My eyes widened as my head slowly cranked itself around to the side to take in her emotions. The problem was that there were no emotions on her face, to even start to figure out how she was taking what I just said. She was blank, she was still, and she did not even blink.
A few minutes ticked away. I sat in horror, unable to form anymore words, which would have been wonderful at this time. It would have been great to explain myself, why I was just telling her now, out of nowhere—throwing a curveball at her, and practically hitting her square in the face with it.
"I think I may need a hearing aid, because I don't believe I heard you correctly." Her voice was emotionless, as she turned to meet my eyes.
"Uh," I paused. The damage was done. I might as well just go with it. "I am, Gran. I'm getting married."
"To the man that you brought with you? Your boss?"
"How—how did you even know that was him?"
"I read up on things. He's not hard to miss in the pictures." She practically rolled her eyes. "I can't believe that you are telling me this right now, Sookie. I thought you hated this man."
"Well, you told me once that I should try to get along with him, that everyone has a good side."
"I didn't actually think you would." Gran shook her head, sighing heavily. "Be serious, for just one second. You are telling me that you got over all that anger toward him? That you somehow 'fell in love' with the man you told me, not so long ago, that you despised?"
I cleared my throat. "Yes."
"Sookie, you don't have a very good track record with commitment. The last time something like this happened, I told you, you shouldn't go through with getting married because you were seventeen—had your whole life ahead of you—and you fought me tooth and nail. Finally, I let in, and gave you my blessing, and you were the one that ran away—a runaway bride, Sookie Stackhouse! That is what you were. You ran off to New York, where you went to school, and got your job." She paused before continuing. "Though I was angry at you for not deciding that in the first place, I couldn't really be angry with you. I thought you did what was best for you. But here you are now, not so many years later, and you want to give yourself away to a different man?"
"Gran, it's different now." I choked out, trying to clear my mind from her words, which still cut me deeply.
"I'm older now, not by much, but…I am. And, I lo—" Come on words! Don't fail me now! "I love him, truly."
That was so bitter on my lips.
"You really believe that I will give you by blessing because you believe you love him? Sookie, that is what you said about the last one, and you were with him almost throughout your high school years."
"I was young then, Gran. Please, just…just understand—"
"You are making it very, very difficult for me to understand, Sookie." She cut me off. Her voice hard when she said the next words; "When, Sookie? When did you plan on getting married?"
"This weekend," I mumbled through my horror.
"I see." She said through her teeth, biting back a very good retort that I knew was on the tip of her tongue.
Tears stung my eyes, and they began to brim. I blinked, trying to make them disappear but they wouldn't go away so easily. I took a deep breath, only for it to get hitched in the back of my throat. I made a sobbing sound, as the tears finally broke free and slid down my cheeks.
The weight of this stupid scheme finally weighed my shoulders down too much. The intense lying made me feel sick, and the fact that my Gran was so, so upset with me was starting to kill me slowly.
"Sookie…?" Gran's voice was much softer now, her strong grip around my shoulders lessened.
I felt so horrible. I was a horrible person, because I was going to use the tears and my cries for my advantage. I was going to lie even more to the woman that raised me since I was little.
"I just want…you to be happy for me." I sobbed out, my head falling into my hands.
I am going to Hell…
I deserve to die…
I should be run over by a Mac truck…
Eaten alive by sharks…
Or some strange combination of the two.
"You are really serious about this, aren't you?"
"Yes." I lied through my teeth.
Silence met me again, but not as long this time.
"I am not happy about this. I cannot lie about that, but if this means so much to you, then I will give you my blessing. But," She paused again, her voice slightly rising as she spoke, "if you run from this one, then I will paint your back porch red. So help me God, Sookie Stackhouse, I will do it! Are we clear?"
"Crystal." I croaked out.
"Alright," She pinned me with a glare, a heavy one. "Enough with the interrogation for now. We have to get back to the party before any neighbors or friends start to wonder what is going on."
"And we wouldn't want that." I smirked slightly, putting on a show. I felt so horrible inside.
"We would be the talk of the town," She said in mock horror, "It's something we could definitely do without."
"I think we are already lined up for it, Gran. There's no helping it when people take one look at Eric."
"Well, he is very handsome, isn't he? Sexy even," She mused; patting my shoulder as she walked passed me.
I blinked fast for a moment, stunned that Gran would come out and be that open that she thought Eric looked good. Seems like I missed a lot while away. With a shake of my head, I began walking back to her side, catching up to her with ease.
It became slightly more peaceful, and the nervousness began to fade. I got past a big hurdle in just a few short minutes, and that had to be a record—a cause for celebration. And I intended to celebrate with my go to drink—gin and tonic. Not just one, but several. Possibly getting drunk off my ass, and feigning away my dread of the lies I told in just those few short minutes.
But as I looked at Eric, and smiled—silently telling him that we were on somewhat level ground with my family, Gran began to muse again, but in a more serious tone than the 'sexy' comment.
"Well, I do hope that you invited Eric's side of the family for this marriage. And I really hope that you have told them beforehand, unlike you did with me, young lady."
My eyes twitched almost painfully. I watched Eric's brows furrow at my now frozen stature, my rigid formation. If I wanted to guess, he was feeling the horror that just had to be written on my face. I wondered for a moment, what he thought was wrong with me.
To be honest, I never thought about Eric's family. I talked to his mom more than he did, so I believed I knew her better than her own son did. But that wasn't the problem. His parents, I figured, were very proper people. And I doubted they would be as calm with this then Gran had been—and Gran even took it horribly.
I was up shit creek without a paddle.
As normal as I possibly could, I walked numbly back over to Eric, and grabbed his hand in my own. With a tug—not very gentle—I pulled him through the house, up the stairs, and to my bedroom.
It had been a simple task, since I needed somewhere to talk to him about what Gran had just said, but since I hadn't been here in so long, I forgot that my room wasn't so…adult-ish.
I opened the door, my eyes went wide, and I spun on my heel, and slammed the door shut. Eric's brows rose in question, and all I could do was laugh. Not just a laugh but a very creepy, nervous, and embarrassed laugh.
"You brought me all the way up here to open a door, only to slam it? Do you have obsessive compulsive disorder or something of that nature?" Eric asked; a smirk very evident on his face.
"Uh, no," There was that creepy laugh again. I rubbed the back of my neck nervously. "I haven't been home in a long time, and Gran….well, she never wanted to change my room after I left. So, it's kinda—"
"Pink?" He said, pushing me out of the way, and opened the door quicker than shit.
"You just pushed me!"
"Because you weren't making any sense." He mumbled, stepping into my room.
It was the oddest picture in the entire world. Eric Northman—my boss and fake fiancé—standing in my very pink room, in a very expensive suit.
I was embarrassed, because my room was like a teenage paradise. There were a million boy band posters hanging on the walls, with hearts around the guys I used to think was hot in permanent red marker. Stuffed animals made a line against the wall on my bed—most of them won from my ex-fiancé over the four years we were together, from different events that happened in town. The bed sheets, pillow covers, and blanket were a cheesy flower pattern in pink and yellow. Old make-up and hair care products were lined up on my white vanity. And a picture of my ex-fiancé and myself were also sitting on the vanity.
My eyes widened as I practically jumped through the air, leaping toward the vanity in the nick of time. Eric hadn't turned around, and I grabbed the photo in my hands and threw it into the closet where I heard it break on something. My closet was very messy, with a bunch of boxes and everything else inside. I doubted I would ever find all the small fragments of glass—shit. But I didn't think about that as I shot Eric a tight, closed mouth smile, and shut my closet door.
"What did you just throw in there?"
"Nothing." I shrugged.
"…Sookie?" Eric shook his head, rolled his eyes and then sighed. "You have…uh, childish taste."
I rolled my eyes this time. "I told you that I haven't really been here since I moved to New York."
"I see. Well, that's…" He chuckled. "It's cute, Sookie."
"The room," He clarified. "It's actually quite cute."
Confusion colored my voice, but I didn't think too much over it. We had a lot more to talk about, and it needed to be now. I walked over to my bed, and sat on the stiff sheets. They sort of smelled of dust, obviously no one used it in a really long time, including me. It kind of sucked coming back here since I was sitting on the bed where I had sex with the ex, a few nights before I left him at the altar.
It was something I never wanted to bring up again, but I could never help it. My mind drifted to that, and then I always felt sick inside. I felt guilty sometimes.
"My Gran asked if we told your parents," I said, finally able to get passed the memories.
"And?" Eric asked as he sat down at my vanity.
I slightly lost focus on the major problem as I watched Eric picking up my old things. He opened a jewelry box lying next to the make-up, and brought out a pearl necklace. He fingered it in his hands, letting the pearls run back and forth through his big fingers, he smirked, totally unaware that I was watching him.
And what was crazy was for the fact that I found myself smiling fondly over them.
"That—" I had to clear my throat from the sudden wave of sadness I felt.
"Hmm?" He turned to look at me.
"That was my mother's necklace. I got it after—after she passed away." I explained. "I nearly forgot all about them. I should take them back to New York with me. That way, I have a little piece of her with me always."
"You should." He said lightly, catching me off guard. "They are real, by the way. I wasn't sure if you knew, but they are."
"My dad spoiled my mom a lot." I chuckled. "He didn't have a lot of money, but he saved a portion of what was left over after all the bills were paid, after Jason and I had everything we needed every month, and then would buy her something special."
"He seems like a very loving man, thoughtful." Eric whispered, his eyes tightening slightly. "My father is not like that."
My mind snapped back to the bigger picture at hand. "Speaking of your parents, Eric, we need to tell them, and invite them to the wedding?"
Eric's head snapped up and met my gaze. The necklace was placed down nice and gently, but his hands were slightly twitching. "Excuse me?"
"Your parents—we need to invite them. They need to know as well, just in case the ISN guys call them too."
"No," His voice rose, and he stood tall. "I really don't believe that is a good idea. You see, my father, he isn't a nice guy."
I rolled my eyes. "Looks like you take after him then?" I tried to joke. It wasn't meant to be taken so seriously.
Eric glared at me, his face contorting in what I would classify as pure hatred. "I am nothing like my father. He is a proud, rich, arrogant asshole that hates me."
"I'm sure he doesn't—" I started in softly only to be cut off.
"Oh, you can bet he does, Sookie. He hates the fact that I came to the United States for my career and work my way up the chain, where I could be my own person, rather under his control at his own company. And also for the fact that I wouldn't marry a daughter of a promising business partner, so the father of the woman would feel comfortable enough to merge his company with my father's. I rejected the asinine request, and he didn't take it very well."
"Eric, we have to. It's the only way this will work." I whispered. "I really, really don't want to go to jail over the family problems you have." I paused. "That sounded really bad…"
Eric shook his head. "Whatever, Sookie. Fine. We will give my folks a ring, and see how well my father takes this news. Oh, I'm most sure they will come, especially my father, so he can be critical of my life." He said sarcastically. "Are you prepared for the onslaught of hate my father will have for you—the woman that I picked instead of the woman he chose for me?"
I sat stunned at the strong, stinging tone of his voice. He was truly upset about having to invite his family. But what had me more 'weirded out' was the phrase he used: The woman that I picked. Was that how he truly felt? He didn't say it in a bad way. It was just an outright statement on his part. He probably said it without really thinking about it.
"Yes," I told him strongly. "We are doing this for one reason. We are going to keep you in the United States, and I promised I would help no matter what. I can take your father's comments, whatever they will be, because they won't even touch me. You wanna know why?" I paused, but he didn't say anything. I continued, "Because it's all a lie to begin with. You don't love me, and I don't love you. His words can't hurt, because of that and that alone."
Eric's shoulders sagged slightly, and he nodded once. "Just be prepared. He can get really…bad at times."
"Nothing I can't handle." I smirked. "Trust me. I've had experience from you. I can take anything." I joked again, because I knew the steam had gone down, the storm had passed.
Finally, Eric chuckled. "Just wait—just wait. You will be thanking me for how truly nice I have been, when you get a load of my father."