I parked Jason’s truck in his usual spot. As soon as I cut the engine, The lights on the back porch turned on. Jason was sitting on the swing, smoking, looking pointedly at his watch.
I rolled by eyes and sat next to him. “Would you believe me if I said I fell asleep and lost track of the time?”
He smirked and rolled his eyes right back at me. “You know that’s the oldest and lamest excuse ever, right? Besides, who can sleep at a field party? I could hear the damn music from here!”
I grabbed the cigarette from his fingers, ignoring the dirty look he gave me. “I didn’t stay at the party. I got annoyed and frustrated, so I took Preston home and went to the lake to chill out. I needed some quiet time to work some things out in my head.” I took a drag, exhaled, and handed the smoke back to Jase. Sighing, I continued. “I miss Eric.”
Jason chuckled, amused at me predicament, not the reaction I expected from him. “I thought you didn’t like him,” I said curiously.
He wrapped his arm around my shoulders and pulled me into his side. “I’m going to tell you something that if you ever repeat, I’ll deny until I take my last breath.” I widened my eyes and gestured for him to continue. “I was wrong to judge the guy solely based on rumors and gossip.” I gasped and clutched my chest in mock-surprise that my brother was admitting to a fault. He dug his elbow into my ribs. “Hush. I’m not done. Save your shock. I really don’t like to admit it, but you were different when you were with him… happier. Now you’re all sullen and grumpy when you aren’t out-and-out too exhausted to even talk.”
I tried to interrupt and say my piece, but he lightly clapped his hand over my mouth to keep me quiet. “He proved to me he was a good guy but doing exactly what you didn’t want him to do. I can’t think of any guy, especially one with a hound-dog reputation like he has wanting to settle down with one girl. Like you’ve pointed out numerous times, I had the same reputation… hell, I still do… and you couldn’t pay me to give it up. But he only wants you.” I furrowed my brow, trying to get where he was going with this. “You gave him a by, right? No commitments or anything?” I nodded. “He didn’t want it. That, right there, tells me he would be faithful. If he wasn’t interested in being with one girl, why push for the actual relationship?”
I was stunned and I’m pretty sure I looked like I had just been whacked upside the head with a sledgehammer. Jason chuckled again at my expression and handed me a cigarette. “I’m just doing this so you can go over what I’m talking about in your head. I know none of this even occurred to you. But think about it. You know I’m telling you the truth. He defended your honor, sending one of his best friends to the hospital. I talked to Andre.” I gasped. I so didn’t want to hear this part, but Jason just shook his head. “He didn’t get into any details, and I didn’t want them. He just said that he’s seen you two together when neither of you were expecting it and that he stood up for you then too. Against Dre. You know as well as I do that Dre is a scary motherfucker and that he wasn’t intimidated.”
Damn. When did Jason get so deep? I just looked up at him, knowing that the question could go unspoken by my eyes. “You’ve been so busy working and dancing and doing stuff at school that I haven’t really had a chance to talk to you; I was only able to see the difference recently. This whole ‘staying away’ from him thing obviously is making you fucking miserable. I am the last person that I thought would ever say this, but I think you ought to give the guy another chance.”
“But what if he doesn’t want one? What if this whole thing burned him so he won’t give me another chance?” I asked. I didn’t know if I could handle his rejection. I already felt hurt by getting ditched in the parking lot. I couldn’t imagine how it would feel if I actually made myself vulnerable to him.
“Sook, you have to take a chance sometimes. If you want something, you’re not going to get anywhere by waiting for it to fall in your lap.”
I woke up with a raging headache and cottonmouth. Fucking hangovers. It always took one to remind myself why I didn’t drink to extremes very often. I drug my sorry ass into the bathroom, drank a huge glass of water, and got into the shower. I felt gross. As the hot water ran over by body, I recalled my dream. I bypassed the playtime with Blake Lively and thought more about the talk with my subconscious Sookie.
Was I punishing her and myself by requiring her to conform to something defined? And when the fuck did I get that deep? I wasn’t used to this kind of obsession over a girl. Part of me want to run away from her, get away from what she was doing to me. The other part of me never wanted to be away from her. I needed to talk to her. And, like her dream-self told me, I did need to apologize to her.
I went to the kitchen after getting dressed in my usual khaki cargos and a black wifebeater. I knew I needed some Tylenol and food before I attempted going out. I had to go the the gym this afternoon with the rest of the team to go over game film, but I had most of the day to kill. I fixed myself some pop-tarts and orange juice and sat at the table just thinking.
I thought I might drive by her house, just see if her car was there. Maybe ask her to take a walk with me, give us a chance to talk when we weren’t pumped on adrenaline or around our “friends”. She and I had always been at our best when it was just me and her.
Now that I had some sort of plan in my head and my hangover seemed to be receding, I got in my car and headed toward Sookie’s house. Just a quick drive-by to see if her car was even there. Absolutely no harm in that.
I drove down Hummingbird Lane with my windows down, enjoying the warmth of the day. As I got closer to her house, I heard bass thumping. When I pulled into her driveway, I realized I was so fucked.
“Come here Rude boy, boy, Can you get it up?
Come here Rude boy, boy, Is you big enough?
Take it, take it Baby, baby Take it, take it
Love me Love me
Come here Rude boy, boy, Can you get it up
Come here Rude boy, boy, Is you big enough
Take it, take it Baby, baby Take it, take it
Love me Love me”
She had a boombox in her yard with the volume blaring. She had on a black sports bra and was wearing pink shorts that were smaller than some bathing suit bottoms I’d seen. She was lost in the moves that she was doing on the grass by herself. I got out of the car, leaned against the driver’s side door, and just watched her.
“I like the way You touch me there
I like the way You pull my hair
Baby, if I don’t feel it I ain’t faking, No, no
I like When you tell me Kiss it there
I like When you tell me Move it there
So get it up Time to get it up
You say you’re a rude boy
Show me what you got Now”
Her body was moving in ways that almost defied physics. I knew for sure that that song wasn’t going to be played during halftime, so I wondered what had her practicing to it. You know, when I had little pulses of blood back to my brain long enough for me to have a thought.
She hadn’t heard me pull in and her head shot up at the end of the song in surprise when I applauded. She turned that hot shade of pink that never failed to turn me on and slowly walked over. “What are you doing here, Eric?” she asked breathlessly.
“Why were you dancing to that song when there’s no way in hell that will be played at a school function?” I asked. I was curious.
She shot me a small smile. “Next week’s performance is to Rihanna. I need to get used to dancing to songs with the same beat, but not necessarily the songs we’ll be dancing too. It’s too easy to put the cues together with the song and not remember the specific routine, so if the song changes, I’m screwed. So we practice to random songs with similar beats to get used to it. Tara told me I should practice that way on my own too. And,” she continued with a smirk, “I just love that song for some reason.”
Sweat glistened on her skin and it made it a little hard to think. She always had that effect on me. “Umm… I was hoping that you could take a walk with me. Not far, but I had some things I wanted to talk to you about.”
Her forehead crinkled as she thought. She pulled a small remote from the waistband of her shorts and stopped the music that had started blaring again from the boombox. Holding up a finger for me to wait, she walked to her porch, dropped off the remote, grabbed a ball of bright red and a huge towel and walked back. As she crossed the grass, she pulled on a tight and faded Crimson Tide cropped t-shirt. “Left over from Dre’s Alabama days. I’ve had it since I was… maybe… twelve, I think? It’s on it’s last legs, so I use it for working out and practicing.” She threw the towel around her shoulders and we set off.
I wasn’t complaining. The little bit of material there was left to the T-shirt clung to her every curve and I couldn’t help but think about the bits of skin that were covered. I shook my head a little to clear those thoughts out of my head. I really didn’t need the loss of blood flow to the brain to screw up what I wanted to say.
Eric and I walked into the woods behind my house. I had my arms folded over my chest, not in a hostile way, just more for comfort. Eric’s arms swung loosely at his side. We got to a shady little clearing next to a small pond and, after laying the towel out to sit on, we sat on the ground, facing each other.
“Before I say anything else, first I want to apologize for the way I treated you the other night. I knew as I said those things that it was wrong, but part of me wanted you to know how I felt when you said similar things to me a few weeks ago. I didn’t really mean what I said, so I’m sorry if I hurt you.”
Wow. I wasn’t expecting that. I had spent the night and most of the morning going over what Jason and I had talked about. I couldn’t think of a better person to go to for advice than my big brother and he had helped me out a lot. I was hoping this apology wasn’t a segue into him saying he never wanted to see me again, because I finally had an idea of where my head was in regards to him and I was willing to give this thing a chance.
“I appreciate that, Eric. It did hurt me, but I can also understand where you were coming from. But there are some other things we need to talk about. I was actually going to call you when I finished practicing.”
His eyes widened with surprise. “I have to say I wouldn’t have expected that. I got the most important thing I needed to say out of the way, so what’s on your mind?” He leaned back on his elbows and stretched his long legs out so they were right next to mine.
I could feel my face burn with my tell-tale blush and really wished that that particular reflex of mine was weaker. I bit down on my bottom lip nervously before continuing. “I miss you. Despite everything, despite how we acted in the parking lot. Yes, we, because you weren’t alone there. Despite the fight at the party last night… I have to admit that we were happier together than we have been apart and if my stupid, silly pride is the only thing standing in the way of that, then I just need to get over myself.”
His jaw dropped slightly and I had to bite back a giggle. He looked completely stunned and had to swallow a few times before he could respond. “So what exactly are you saying to me, Sookie?”
I pulled my hair down from the bun I had it tied back in and ran my fingers through it. I always played with my hair when I was nervous. “I want us to be together, Eric. I can tell you’ve been different since we… what ever we did back in August. And it’s almost like you’ve been going out of your way to avoid me.” I paused to take a deep breath before continuing. “You defended me to your friends. Not just Bill, but to Thalia too, when she was nasty to me after I made the dance team and she didn’t. You always took what I wanted into consideration, even if it was completely contradictory to something that you wanted.”
I kept his face in my peripheral vision as I looked down at the ground between my feet. I saw nothing but confusion and astonishment. “How did you come to this decision?” he asked in a soft voice.
I felt my cheeks heat with blush again and ducked my head further. “I went to the lake after I took Preston home. The fight last night really bugged me for some reason and I needed to think some things out. I ended up falling asleep in the grass and Jason woke me up by calling. When I got home, I talked some things out with him.”
His face fell and I gave him a grin. “Believe it or not, he kind of talked you up. Said he had talked to Andre and thought over some things he’d heard me say or complain about and those things had convinced him that you were good for me and that I should give you another chance.” I looked up at him and met those beautiful blue eyes dead on for the first time. “It’s not you that needs another chance; it’s me. Is it too late to try this thing over again and see if we can get it right?”
His face beamed a huge smile as he scooted closer to me on the ground. “Sookie, we have tried this every way except the right way. And not a single one of those ways has worked. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here. Can I put some requests in now, though? See if we can work this out reasonably?”
I spine stiffened. I almost didn’t want to know what he was going to ask, but I calmed myself after a second. He knew me well enough not to make demands. “Sure… whatcha got?”
He scooted even closer. “I want to pick you up and take you home on Tuesdays and Thursdays… at least through football season. Our practices end at the same time and at least we’d be guaranteed some time alone together. I know you have to work Monday and Wednesday nights and Saturday lunches. I have practice every afternoon and team meetings on Sunday nights. We’re both incredibly busy, so I don’t know when we’d get the chance otherwise. That’s all I’m asking for. That, and the possibility of renegotiating when basketball season starts. Both our practice schedules will change then, along with the game schedule. There’s no point in even trying this if we can’t compromise to make time with each other.”
That was it? That’s all he was asking for? Hell, I could get on board with that. I hadn’t really thought about how overwhelming our schedules were since we split up. I know that was the reason that I had wanted to keep things casual when we started this thing over the summer, but hearing it laid out like that was kind of shocking. We would have to make a real effort to see each other if this was going to work.
“I can live with that. But I have a request too. One night a week, we spend together too. Whether it’s an actual date or just hanging out and doing homework or something. A night where it’s just you and me.”
Scooted closer again. “I couldn’t agree more. Maybe your brilliant, AP-class taking self can help me keep my GPA up so I qualify for a scholarship when it gets offered. Any other conditions you want to mention now?”
I closed the gap and straddled his lap. “Nothing I can think of. Anything else you want to put out there?”
“Nah. I’m good on that part.” His arms wrapped around my back and he cupped his large hands under my ass, squeezing gently. He brushed his lips across my cheek and the corner of my mouth. “I can only think of one thing I want more than anything else, Susannah.”
I shivered. Swear to God, no one made my name sound as fucking sinful as he could. I wrapped my arms around his neck and threaded my fingers into his hair. “And what on Earth could that be, Mr. Northman?” I asked in a husky whisper against his ear and felt him shiver also.
“Do you really have to ask?” he groaned against my neck as he pulled my hips forward over his. Damn. It had only been a couple of days since the game and our little parking lot encounter, but it had been far too long since it had been like this. He dipped his head down and captured my mouth in a blistering kiss, a kiss that I had missed for weeks.
Her tiny body was pressed against mine and it felt like all was right in the world once again. My tongue caressed her lips before I slid it between them. Her tongue massaged my own and if could hear her making tiny sighs in my mouth. I had missed this. Missed her. So fucking much.
I broke the kiss when we needed air and immediately attacked her neck, tasting her skin and giving her goosebumps. Her nails ran lightly over my shoulders and arms before giving in completely and grabbing the hem of the shirt and pulling it over my head. I had no problem with that. I always wanted more of my skin to have contact with hers. I returned the favor by pulling off the little cropped Alabama tee off followed by the black sports bra. Every single time they made me pause: the most beautiful tits I had ever seen. Ever. But now I was torn because I wanted to cup them and feel her nipples harden in my hands, but her ass felt so good in my hands too. Damn. Decisions, decisions.
I pulled her tight against my hips so she could wrap her legs around my waist. Once we were situated, I started reacquainting my hands, fingers, and mouth with her breasts. She made tiny little gasps and moans and ground her hips against me. I could feel the heat coming off her through our clothes. I wanted her naked, but I also didn’t want to rush this.
However, the decision apparently wasn’t mine to make. My Sookie was an impatient girl. She lifted her hips to slide back down my legs and busied her hands in unfastening my shorts while I kept making her eyes roll back my strategic attacks on her neck, mouth, and nipples. Once my shorts were undone, she knelt on her knees and shimmied those little short-underwear things down and I saw why I didn’t feel or see any panty lines: I wasn’t the only one going commando and it was hotter than hell.
I stood up after lifting her off my lap and shed my shorts. I pulled her back to me and kissed her hard. As much as I wanted to take my time with her, I knew that this was going to be fast and intense and we needed it to be that way. We laid back on the towel, her underneath me, with me supporting my weight on my forearms. I couldn’t stop kissing her. One of her hands fisted my hair and the other stroked down my back.
I reached down and felt how fucking wet she was and growled. Always. She was always so damn ready for me. I’d been hard since seeing her dance and needed no prep time at all. After lining up, I slid into her slowly. “Oh my God, Sookie, you feel so fucking good,” I groaned into her ear.
“Uh-huh, you do too,” she panted in return, shifting underneath me. I pulled almost all the way out before plunging back in hard. She cried out and dug her nails into my shoulders. “Oh God, do that again.”
I repeated it over and over until both of us were teetering on the edge. “Look at me, Sookie. Look at me,” I gasped, trying to get her to open her eyes. Seeing her come was one of the most amazing things I’d seen and I wanted her eyes on me when she did. Once her stormy dark blue eyes met mine, I gave one last deep thrust that had both of us calling each others names. I fell to her side and tried to catch my breath.
She was just looking up at the sky with a dazed look in her eyes and a soft smile on her lips. I turned onto my side and kissed her softly. “No regrets, right?” I had to ask, for my own reassurance.
“Not a single one. Just happy. Just really fucking happy, for the first time in weeks. I’m glad you came over today.” She kissed me back and my doubts were erased.
We took our time getting dressed, pausing to kiss or touch each other, making up for the time we had ridiculously lost. Once we were decent again and the towel was wrapped again around her shoulders, I took her hand for the walk back to her house. Once there, she stood at my car door. “So I guess I’ll see you tomorrow?” she asked.
“Quick question. Are we limited to one night a week together, or was that a minimum?”I replied. I would get to the school around four for the team meeting, and we would be done by seven. I hadn’t had enough of her, by far.
She grinned. “A minimum. Why?”
“I’ll be done at seven at the latest tonight. Can I take you out?”
Her face fell a little. “I have to have dinner with my family. They’re bitching that they don’t get to see me anymore. But, after dinner, I’m free. What were you thinking?”
I gave her another quick kiss before I had to leave. “I’ll pick you up at seven-thirty. Dress comfortable.”
She nodded with a little laugh. I knew just where I wanted to take her.