The rest of the fall went normally. Sookie and I couldn’t have been better. If I’m really honest, we were one of those couples that made others nauseous. If I were on the outside looking in, I would have mocked us. We finished out football season with only one game in the loss column; her dance team had been to competitions and were gearing up to go to state cheer/dance team finals for the state. She was killing herself trying to keep up with everything and have time for me too. I could finally see where the logic behind her decision was coming from over the summer, but I still felt victorious in that battle. I let her know that she didn’t need to work so hard, that I would be there for her when she needed me, but she was an all-or-nothing kind of girl.
Before the end of fall, when the temperatures really starting dropping, she talked me into coming to one of her friend Tara’s camp-outs. I had, of course, already met my girlfriend’s best friend, but I never had the privilege of being invited to a bonfire in the field. I was apprehensive, seeing as how I never interacted with this group before. Until Sookie, I pretty much openly mocked at least one of her friends and I still had a not-so-secret dislike of that Alcide fucker. But for her, I would make an effort.
I drove her to Tara’s house after the game on Friday. Since we had been together, she had made an effort to actively watch the second half of the games and got me to explain what she didn’t understand if she chose to watch college games with me on Saturdays. She was a quick study too. She said she could understand why I wanted to be drafted by the SEC over any other conference. I smiled at her when she explained her understanding, because of the apparent weakness and roller-coaster strengths of conferences like the ACC and Big East, at least in football. I was proud of my girl.
Fortunately, the road into the field wasn’t pitted and rutted like the one to the river and my car was able to navigate it smoothly. As I got closer, I could smell the smoke from the campfire and saw a tent already pitched. Tara looked up as she struggled with a second one. Without being asked, I parked the car and hopped out, jogging over to help her.
“Hey guys. It’s not going to be all of us tonight. When I told Tray about the new addition, Alcide bowed out. Amelia has some kind of cold or flu that her herbs aren’t taking care of so she’s out too. I think Tray’s just going to drop off JB and some goodies for later, but it’s just going to be four of us. That okay?” she asked.
I could tell with a glance that Sookie was relieved that Alcide wasn’t going to be there, so I smiled. “It’s fine with me. A calm, relaxing night in front of the fire sounds great.” I actually honestly liked Tara. She and Sookie were a lot alike, their drive and perfectionist tendencies. Sookie had taken me to one of Tara’s dance recitals and I suddenly knew who had helped Sookie get onto the dance team. She was amazing in her own right. She was funny and smart, sharing the AP classes with Sookie. They complimented each other perfectly, but weren’t identical, or clones of each other, like other girls I knew.
Sookie and I helped Tara set up the second tent and grabbed some of the jumbo skewers from the box of supplies by the fire. We were all toasting marshmallows when the headlights of a Jeep bounced up the little road. Tray parked, but didn’t turn the engine off. JB got a big hug and kiss from Tara and a smaller hug from Sookie, who turned and gave Tray a quick hug around one of his tree branch-sized arms. He gave her a small smile and passed something from his hand to hers. She stood on her tiptoes and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek before he said goodbye to everyone and drove off.
We resettled around the fire, coupled off, but all of us interacting. Tara and JB were cute together, but for the life of me, I couldn’t see what a smart girl like her saw in the guy. He seemed dumber than a box of rocks. She could have done better, but it wasn’t my place to say. Sookie smirked up at me during the conversations, almost as if she could hear my thoughts.
Sookie passed out the joints that Tray handed off to her. I knew she got high occasionally, but hadn’t seen her that way since the most fucked-up field party I’d ever been to. Not to say that I never smoked, but it was definitely more of an off-season activity for me. Almost as if she sensed my apprehension, she lowered the joint from her lips. “You don’t have to if you don’t want. It’s just been a hard-as-hell few weeks for me and I want to zone out a little bit. Do you mind?”
I found it a little unsettling that she thought she needed to ask. This was something that she enjoyed before we got together and I would never ask her to give something up for me. That wasn’t part of our deal. I knew how hard she had been working, trying to keep up with everything. I told her honestly that it didn’t bother me, but I was bowing out of partaking. I knew there were a few schools that did random testing before scholarships were offered and the last thing I wanted was to be denied because of a stupid lapse of judgment.
She nodded and settled between my legs, her back against my chest. She rocked side to side a little in time to the music that Tara was playing, some poppy, borderline country stuff that I couldn’t understand how anyone liked. When she finished, she grabbed us bottles of water from the small cooler that I hadn’t noticed before. She sat back down and leaned back into me. “I’m sorry if this is boring. I know this isn’t like parties that you’re used to, but this is me. I’m used to my little circle of friends and our low-key get-togethers.”
“Sook, shut up. This is fine. I like being here with you way more than drinking shit beer in a house full of near-strangers having to put on a show.” I nuzzled her neck with my chin and she both sighed and giggled. “I get to be myself around you. You know that, right?”
“Yeah, I think I do. You’ve been doing a damn fine job of letting me know it, too. You don’t act around me the same way you do around everyone else you hang around with. When I see you from a distance with your teammates or any of those tricks that you used to fuck, even your posture is different. You look like the same cocky asshole that I almost didn’t give a chance to. I’m glad you let me in.” I was pleased to see, despite the lidded eyes and the way her body was slumped against mine, she was still reasonably coherent.
The girls got giggly munchies a little bit later and charged JB and I with making smores while they danced. That was a bad combination: trying to keep our attention on the fire while our girls were moving their bodies. The music didn’t really matter; when Sookie moved, my vision tunneled. I turned my back to her so I could keep focused on the job at hand. We managed to fix a pretty good stockpile of the treats that Tara and Sookie descended on like vultures.
After the munchies were sated, she led me back into one of the tents. I guessed the social part of the evening was over. I heard Tara giggle as she and JB headed in the opposite direction. I unrolled the sleeping bags and zipped them together so instead of two, it was one big one. She changed into pajama pants and a tank top, stalling my actions. “What? It’s nothing you’ve never seen before,” she said when she noticed me staring.
I finished getting the bags together and pulled her to me. “I’ve seen every bit of you and I still love looking. You know you’re beautiful, right?”
She snuggled in closer to me. “I know you think I am, and that’s all that matters. You’re pretty hot yourself, Northman.”
I started undressing. “Actually, I’m pretty cold, but I think you can warm me up, Stackhouse.” We slid into the converted sleeping bag and cuddled up together. “What’s with the clothes? Don’t you know it’s easier to stay warm if there’s skin-on-skin contact?”
She smiled with her face pressed against my chest. “I think I might have heard that somewhere before. You want to help me get suitably undressed? Purely for survival purposes, of course. No funny business.”
I slid my hands up her sides, pulling the tank top up with them. Her skin was always so soft and smooth and I couldn’t resist following my hands with my lips. She sighed and squirmed, giggling a little when I hit her few ticklish spots.
We cuddled and made out until we were both to tired to stay awake any longer. Considering everything we’d done in the past, it was an innocent night by our standards. But we both had had strenuous evenings on the game field and I was more than fine with just wrapping her bare body in my arms and sleeping with her, literally. She was perfect for me. I was completely in love with her.
I didn’t know how I was going to handle leaving in less than a year.
We made it through the rest of the fall and Eric had to switch gears quickly. He had no transition time between football and basketball season. I had my own transition to get used to when my practice schedule changed along with his. Since there were more basketball games than football games and they had a more irregular schedule than the football team, I know Halleigh had a hell of a time trying to put a schedule together for us, not to mention the sheer number of new routines we had to learn. I finally told Senior that I would only be able to work the Saturday shift until the spring when the season was over. Thank God we didn’t perform at baseball games.
It felt like I was getting buried. I loved the dance team, but I truly hadn’t realized the amount of time it required. I kept up with my duties on the paper, but I also had first semester finals coming up and SATs weren’t too far in the future. I would have loved to takes some prep classes to get me ready for those, but after my activities, job, and regular homework and studying, there just wasn’t any time left over.
I knew Eric was starting to feel a little neglected, so I really tried to fit in time together. Even if it was just being in the same room while we studied or did homework, it was still something. He had his own obligations that he needed to take care of, and maybe it was just a matter of perspective, but it started to seem like we just never had enough time together.
One Sunday afternoon, he came by unexpectedly. He walked up to my room, removed the AP English book that I was reading from my hands, and pulled me off my bed without saying a word, ignoring my protests. He opened the passenger door to his car, let me sit, and came around to the driver’s side. Backing out of my driveway, he still didn’t say anything. About halfway into the drive, I figured we were heading to his house and started to relax a little. I knew where he was going, if not what he was doing.
We entered through the kitchen and I managed a rushed “Hi” to Pam and Eric’s mom Trena, who stared, surprised at my appearance. Still silent, he pulled me down the hall into his room and closed to door behind him. “Can you tell me why I just had to greet them in my PJ’s?” I asked, not entirely happy with this whole silent treatment.
“I needed some time alone with you. We’re busy as fuck right now and I don’t want to get used to not having you to myself sometimes.”
I thought about that. He had a very good point. “I know, baby, and I don’t like it any more than you do. But you know we’re not doing anything back here that would traumatize your mother or sister to walk in on, right?”
He smirked, seemingly in a better mood at least. “I’m pretty sure they both know I’m not a virgin, and since we’ve been together now for…” he paused to think about it, “counting the summer, about five or six months, I’m positive they know that we have been together. But, no, that wasn’t in my plans for today. My only goal was relaxation and avoidance of anything resembling work. We’re going to chill back here, watch a couple of movies, and forget the rest of the rest of the world exists for a few hours. I’ve already cleared it with your parents.”
My eyes widened. “My parents knew you were kidnapping me?”
He kissed the tip of my nose. “Yep. You’re all mine until seven tonight.” It was only one-thirty, so I was jazzed, but a little worried about all that I still had to do. “Don’t fall into your head, Sook. Let yourself relax. You need it with all the shit that you’ve been doing.”
He pulled me onto his bed and got into position. He propped some pillows behind his back and let me lean back against him. Grabbing the remote, he flipped though the movie channels and found something mindless that was just starting.
I don’t remember what it was, because I fell asleep before the opening credits were over. And, being the best boyfriend ever, he let me sleep, even though I know he had to be bored. When I woke up, I was curled on my side with my head resting on his chest. He had taken my hair down from it’s lazy day ponytail and was running his fingers through the strands. I nuzzled his chest sleepily with my face and looked up at him. “Sorry for crashing on you.”
He shrugged. “You must have needed it. You just missed Bruce Willis saving the world. Nothing unusual.”
I snickered. “He does seem to do that a lot, doesn’t he? Except when he’s dead and doesn’t know it, counseling a little kid that can see him.”
He huffed and tried to hide his smile. “Well, now you’ve just ruined that whole movie for me.”
I turned over and wrapped my arms around his. “Sorry for that. I should have ‘spoiler alert’ flash on my forehead when I say shit like that. Besides, I know for a fact that you’ve already seen that movie cuz I watched it with you.”
He chuckled and started flipping around to find another movie, but we didn’t end up watching that either. I didn’t let myself forget that his mom and sister were in the house and we managed to keep everything PG-13. I was missing more of our NC-17 stuff, but this was nice for the moment, until things calmed down a little.
Taking a break to catch our breath, I said something I’d been meaning to for awhile. “I wanted to let you know that I haven’t forgotten what you said to me at Homecoming, even though we don’t talk about it all that much. We aren’t really those kind of people. And with everything going on for both of us, it’s been rough. But…” I paused to summon my courage. “Eric, I’m in love with you.”
His eyes lit up, even in the dim room, and he smiled before pressing his lips to my forehead. “Not that I mind, but what brought this on?”
“Well, I’ve wanted to tell you for awhile, but the timing never seemed right. I didn’t really want to just blurt it out… kind of like I just did… but we were always rushing around and not really getting to spend any good time together. I didn’t want to tell you while we were both sweaty and exhausted after practice or in the middle of doing homework. This just seemed like the perfect time. As to when I knew… I can’t really pinpoint an exact time, but around the time of the camp-out. Seeing you relaxed and able to chill with my friends was a big thing for me. It helped me realize how much you’ve opened up for me, and there’s not a single thing that I’ve seen since we got together that I don’t like. I mean… there are so many good things about you that no one knows, because you have this whole cocky facade that you’re really good at, but that’s not really you. It’s the you that only I get to see that I’ve fallen for and I thought you should know.”
He smiled and started kissing me again. I’d missed being alone with him for so long that it was hard to remember to keep things innocent-ish when his sneaky hands would grab my ass or slide up my shirt. But we managed. Time flew and before either of us were ready, he needed to get me back home.
When he pulled into my driveway, he kept me from getting out of the car. “Sook, we need to make it a point to do this more often. I know we’re both busy as fuck, but if we’re going to make a run of this, we need to take advantage of the little times we can get.”
I nodded. “You’re right. You know I tend to overwhelm myself, thinking about everything that’s on my plate. I needed this today. Thank you for abducting me.”
He gave me a quick, but thoroughly satisfying kiss. “You’re welcome. I’ll see you in the morning. I’m driving you to school this week since our schedules line up.” Leave it to him to think of that.
“I’ll see you at eight then. Love you,” I tossed out before I jumped out of the car and headed to the front door. I saw a huge smile on his face again before he put the car in reverse and left.
We made it though the holidays without incident. We had little arguments that every couple has, but nothing terrible. I gave her my class ring on my birthday, right before Thanksgiving, that she wore on a thin gold chain since there was no way that it would ever fit on any of her little fingers. With Mom’s help, I found a silver locket to give her for Christmas and put a picture of us from Homecoming inside. She gave me a Saints jersey personalized with my number and name.
Valentine’s Day was amazing. I’d never done the “girlfriend” thing before, much less celebrated the holiday. I was kind of clueless as to what the protocol was, but by the smile on her face, I hadn’t completely failed with the flowers and card that I picked out for her. We also had reservations for dinner, since it was a rare evening that neither of us were booked and didn’t have any obligations the following morning. If I had my way, it was going to be a long night. It had been far too long since I’d had Sookie completely to myself, in a lot of ways.
We ate dinner at the same restaurant we’d been to before we went to Homecoming. It was busy, as expected, but not annoyingly so. After we finished and I paid the check, I wanted to continue the night, but didn’t have the slightest idea of where we could go. It was too cold to take advantage of our field at the lake, and it was just plain creepy to go to either of our houses with family in a neighboring room. Sookie smiled at my frustrated expression.
“If I give you directions, can you follow them and not ask any questions?” she asked, with the wicked little grin that always made me hard.
“Just give me enough time to make the turns, and we’ll be good,” I assured her.
She had me drive down all kinds of twisty back roads before having me turn into a long, unpaved driveway. I drove through what seemed like miles of cleared fields before the road started climbing. And climbing. When I thought the hills would never end, at the peak of the road was a little log cabin with a wall of windows looking out over the mountains that surrounded us. “Sook, this is amazing!” I told her, looking at the vista illuminated by the full moon.
She nodded, looking around with me. “This is Jason and Andre’s little getaway. They’ll come up here to go hunting or spend a few days with a girl… although that’s more Andre’s thing than Jase, since he can’t stick to one and he doesn’t want them to intrude on his personal space. Anyway,” she continued, shaking her head to clear that thought away, “Jase gave me his keys after clearing it with Andre. I think you can take that as a clear sign that he likes you now,” she said with a smile. “But let’s get inside cuz it’s freaking freezing right now.”
She unlocked the door on the side of the cabin and showed me around. It was fairly simple. The first level was a kitchen and living room with a fireplace and huge TV (solely for football games during hunting season, Sookie explained); the second level was a loft that overlooked the living room with two king sized beds and a full bath. It was pretty much a bachelor’s dream, provided he didn’t mind the isolation.
She pulled me up the stairs, toward one of the beds. “Can I just tell you how crazy it is that we have gone this long without one of us getting pinned into a dark corner and screwing each other’s brains out?” she mumbled against my chest while trying to unbutton my shirt.
I tried to do the count in my head and it had been more than a month. That was unheard of, not just for us, but for me personally. I slid the zipper of her dress down her back and grinned at the little whoosh sound it made as it fell from her body to land on the floor at her feet. She finished getting my shirt undone and I shucked it from my shoulders and stood back to look at her. While I had, from the moment I first really saw her, appreciated her body, I could look at her and tell how it had changed since she started the dance team. She was leaner, but still had the curves that she was proud of and that made my mouth water. Her limbs were more toned, her legs especially, and I wanted nothing more than to touch, kiss, and nibble every inch of her.
As her fingers ran over my chest, her eyes lidded when she looked up at me. She had a way of looking hungry for me that made me feel so many things at once. I truly believed that she had been meant for me to find. I pulled her back to me and leaned down to kiss her hard. Her arms wrapped around my neck and held me close. I nibbled down her neck and marveled again at how just her skin managed to hold the sweetness of summer peaches, even in the middle of winter.
She gave a shaky sigh against me and reached down to unbuckle my belt. I was wearing too many clothes and she sought to remedy that immediately. I toed off my shoes at the same time she let my pants drop to the floor and picked her up. The bed across the room was a little too far away in my opinion, but I was able to close the gap in a few hurried steps.
I sat on the edge of the bed with Sookie standing between my knees. She reached behind her back and let the little black strapless bra she wore under her dress drop. The matching bikini panties were so tiny… they covered almost nothing. I leaned forward and took one of her hard pink nipples between my lips and rolled it lightly with my teeth, making her breath shudder even more. I cupped her other one and mimicked the actions of my mouth with my fingers. She gasped and groaned, holding my head to her like she never wanted to let me go. I loved when she got like that.
I sucked and nibbled around her breasts, just savoring the taste of her skin while she panted against me. She pulled her head up to kiss me again. “Eric, I love that you dig the foreplay, but it’s been too long. I need you in me. Now.”
I knew exactly how she felt. I didn’t want to wait any longer than necessary. I slid her tiny little panties down her legs and let my fingers skim through her folds. Her eyes rolled back a little and I sucked the wetness from my fingers. I loved how she was always ready for me. Still standing, she reached between us and stroked me. She loved how I was always ready for her.
I pulled her down so she straddled my legs. Her hips ground against mine restlessly and she attacked my mouth with hers. I twisted so I was laying stretched out down the length of the bed. She grabbed my hands and braced herself by pinning them next to my head, never breaking the kiss. She lifted slightly and slid down onto me. I couldn’t help but moan at how hot and tight she felt around my cock. “Oh God, Eric…” she whimpered.
“I know. Give me a minute. It’s been too long,” I groaned back at her, trying to keep myself from coming before her. I had never been a one-minute man and I wasn’t about to start, but she felt too damn good. I tried everything I could keep calm myself down.
I looked up at her, watching her chest heave with deep breaths, her teeth bite down on her lower lip, and marveled again at how I was able to get such an amazing girl to love me. Unable to hold back any longer, I thrust up slowly. Sookie’s hips rolled as I pulled down and both of us moaned at the sensation. I continued slowly, wanting to last as long as I could, knowing it would never be as long as I wanted.
The longer we lasted, the harder her hips pitched. I could feel she was as close as I was and damned if I would come before her. I reached between us and stroked her clit, wanting to feel her walls flutter and her thighs shake the way they always did when she was about to go over, and I didn’t have to wait long. I sped up my thrusts in time with my finger and was rewarded with my name being cried in a hoarse voice. I came right after her and pulled her down on top of me, holding her body to mine.
“We can’t wait that long again, you know?” I gasped at her breathlessly. My fingers ran up and down her spine lightly, smiling against her neck at the goosebumps it gave her.
“Oh, I know,” she agreed. “I’ve missed this so damn much.” She looked up at me with her stormy blue eyes and grinned. “It’s a good thing that we don’t have anywhere to be for the rest of the night. Mom and Daddy know I’m spending the night with Ginger after our date, so they aren’t expecting me home at all. You never have a curfew, Mr. Independent, so I wonder what we can do to wear each other out further.”
We spent the rest of the night proving that any time we weren’t fucking was time wasted. I repeated to her that I loved her and she told me many times that she loved me. When morning came, I was almost sorry to see the amazing sunrise over the mountains. I didn’t know that things were going to change so soon.