I woke up to my little sister Pam dumping a glass of ice water over my head. I shot out of bed, pissed off, and saw her smirking as she ran out of the door, cackling. She was such a bitch for someone so young. She wouldn’t be starting high school until the fall. Thank God I would only have to share a school with her for a year before I graduated.
I figured since I was already up, I should go ahead and get ready. I got in the shower and thought about Sookie. Fuck. I hoped to all that was holy that I wouldn’t run into her. I was embarrassed by how I had treated her the night of the party. I had known she was fucked up and had pushed her anyway. It didn’t matter that she was more than willing. It didn’t feel right in retrospect.
But I couldn’t help the way I was attracted to her. It was like she was a whole different person. She was no one anyone would notice. But when I saw her hop out of that truck in those tiny clothes and the attitude she gave… there’s nothing Eric Northman loves more than a challenge.
I dressed with care, as I usually did. I know what looks good on me. I pulled on baggy black cargo shorts and a white wife beater. I put on a red button down on over it, but didn’t button it and rolled up the sleeves. I pulled on my black hiking boots and grabbed my back pack before I went downstairs.
My mom was in her scrubs, just getting home from her shift in the ER. She looked exhausted and I kissed her head as she ate some breakfast before heading to bed. Pam sat at the table with her and had a shit-eating grin on her face.
“Momma, are you gonna be able to come see the play this weekend? I actually have some lines in this one.” Pam asked her. She was heavily into the drama department, much to my embarrassment.
“I’ll try, Sweetpea. If I’m on the graveyard shift again, I don’t know if I’ll be able to. Your dad will be there, though. And so will your brother,” she said, shooting me a look like she was daring me to contradict her. I wouldn’t dare, not in the mood she was in. I settled for shrugging.
I grabbed a bagel and said good bye before getting in my Camero. I pulled into the lot at school and was greeted by my friends. Thalia and Felicia draped themselves across my car, trying to get my attention. And they were both beautiful. But I was looking for someone else. Someone I had never looked for before.
I saw both Sophie and Hadley, but they apparently didn’t give Sookie rides to school. She was no where near them. A giant rumbling black pickup with pink and aqua detailing pulled into the parking lot to the drop off queue. I saw her then. She leaned over and gave the driver a hug before lowering herself to the ground.
Fuck me. She was in a little sundress that she filled out like a goddess. White lace with some sort of red flowers and red heeled sandals. Her hair was still down in waves and the glasses were still missing. Who the fuck was she hugging?
I shook my head, trying to get back into the game. She was no one. Felicia and Thalia attached themselves to my side and we walked into school like the teenage royalty we were. I headed to my locker with the entourage in toe. Bill, Clancy, and Max joined up with the group and the crowds in the hall parted as we walked through. Isabelle and Heidi were waiting for me at my locker. I had slept with all four of the girls, and had no desire to do so again. But I put my game face on and flirted like a master, making them giggle and blush. The ridiculous game I had to play actually succeeded in getting Sookie out of my head for a time. I got through my first two classes and the first half of lunch without giving her a second thought.
But as I headed to my locker to swap out books, I passed the little patch of grass where the fucking hippies hung out. How could I forget that? I saw the Amelia girl that Sookie mentioned doing her best to look like a space cadet with her glassy eyes and crooked grin. I saw Tray watching her with a leer that had only one meaning. I also saw his twin Alcide wrapped around his girlfriend on the grass, but he was looking somewhere else.
I followed his eyes, a sixth sense telling me what I would see. Sookie was laying on her stomach reading. She was propped up on her elbows and kept checking her watch. I backed against the brick, trying to avoid her notice. She popped up suddenly.
“Guys, I have to get to the auditorium. We’re doing matinee shows for the elementary schools this week,” she said as she grabbed her bag. Say what?
“If it wasn’t such a pain in the ass, I’d consider doing drama just to get out of classes for a week,” Alcide threw out. He was still looking at her like she was a steak. It pissed me off.
“Alc, it’s really not that bad. The perks of it are great though. But I don’t really see you as a musical theater kind of guy. Besides, it’s not like I’m on stage. I just do the makeup.”
“You would never put make up on this face. I’m too pretty,” he said and Holly giggled. Sookie blushed when she saw the challenge in his eyes and he stared at her over Holly’s head.
“Yeah, yeah,” she muttered. “Can you guys drive me home this afternoon? Jason has to work late.”
Now I remembered where I’d seen the guy who dropped her off this morning. Jason Stackhouse was the varsity quarterback when I was on the JV squad. So that was her ride? Shit.
Jason Stackhouse and Andre Paul. Powerhouse cousins that ruled the school in their time. Andre’s mom had married into the Stackhouse family when he was a baby, and Hadley and Sophie were only half-sisters to him. So… I admit, it took me a little time to figure out the family connection, but it meant that Jason was Sookie’s brother. I couldn’t help but feel relief at that fact when my going unnoticed was blown all to hell.
“What the hell are you doing here, Eric, catching a contact buzz? Come on, we have to get our books for Chem,” Felicia said loudly to me. “Lunch is almost over.”
Sookie looked up at my name and the smile left her face. She turned and headed off to the auditorium. Tray and Alcide traded confused shrugs. Felicia attached herself to my side as I went to my locker.
Bill met me in the classroom and sat next to me when Felicia went squealing to Isabelle like it had been 3 years since they had seen each other rather than an hour. “Have you seen Stackhouse today?” he whispered loudly.
“Stackhouse who? There are several of them. You’ll need to clarify,” I said to him dryly. I knew which one he was referencing and wasn’t happy.
“Sookie. I have her in AP History. She had some sort of body transplant over the weekend. She’s fucking hot!”
“Sookie Stackhouse?” I scoffed, like I had no idea who he was talking about. “What are you talking about?”
“Jason’s little sister. It’s like… shit, man. I never knew that she looked like that!”
“Mm-hmm. Right.” I mumbled before Mrs. Kingery started class.
After class, I saw tons of ankle biters heading into the auditorium and realized this was what Sookie meant about doing a matinee for elementary schools. The kids would be driven to the high school every year to see the Spring Musical. Knowing that Sookie was in there distracted me to no end and I had to haul ass to get to English before the bell rang.
Thank God Jason stopped by for breakfast this morning. I had woken up late and missed the bus, so he offered to drive me before he left for work. He was great as big brothers went and I adored him. I grabbed some bacon and toast from the plate on the table before hopping into his truck.
I picked out one of my new sundresses to wear to school today. It was so cute, white with red roses embroidered all over it. Jason’s eyes had widened when he saw me walk down the stairs.
“Damn, Sook. I’m gonna end up beating some fool’s ass by the end of the week with you lookin’ like that!” he said and I felt like there was no higher praise I could have gotten. “Why the change?”
“I just felt like it was time I actually looked like a girl. I am a girl, you know?” I said as we headed to the kitchen.
“Who is he?” he asked with his eyes narrowed.
“Jase, there’s no guy. I just decided it was time to stop hiding what I look like.”
“Right. Well, let’s go before I get pay docked.”
He pulled up to drop me off and I hugged him before I tried to modestly get out of the truck in my new dress. Tara, Holly, and Amelia exclaimed over my new look and I hugged them all. We went to our lockers and got our stuff for first and second periods.
I knew that people were staring at me. Trying to place me. Even my teachers had had to look twice to realize it was me. I didn’t know whether to be flattered or not. It felt like I was a new student around people I had known my whole life.
Amelia and Tray snuck off to his Jeep during the first half of lunch, as they usually did, and came back with glassy, bloodshot eyes. Tara and JB had a different lunch period, so I wouldn’t see her until after school. I laid on the grass reading over some of the history notes I had taken to get familiar with the topics. I could feel eyes running over my body and saw Alcide staring. I tried to smile, but it was uncomfortable. He had a girlfriend who was a good friend of mine. He shouldn’t be looking at me like that.
I mentioned that I needed a ride home and Tray volunteered. He and Alcide rode together and took their girls home after school, but Holly had to stay behind for softball practice. So there was room for a fourth in the Jeep. I accepted gratefully when I heard mindless giggling and the name “Eric”. I turned sharply and saw the bicycle of the junior class simper over Eric. He was staring at me like he’d never seen me before. Well, fuck him. I turned and headed into the auditorium to work on the makeup for the elementary school matinee we were doing. I loved drama, especially working backstage.
I helped some of the middle school cast get into their costumes and their easy makeup done. They were mainly background characters with few lines, if any, and didn’t need the works like the primaries would. Once they were done and out of the way, I started working on the leads.
The Artful Dodger sat in my chair. His name was Rasul and he was an exchange student this year. He was of Middle Eastern descent, but was from Spain and his accent gave me shivers. His dark eyes glittered as he looked me over.
“Sookie, you look amazing. How is it that I haven’t noticed before?” he asked as I applied foundation so he didn’t look like Casper under the lights.
“I faded into the background before. I decided not to do that anymore,” I said as I lined his eyes and smiled.
“You camouflaged yourself too well. You are beautiful,” he said and I couldn’t help but blush. “Can I see you home this afternoon?”
“Umm… yeah. I’ll find my friends and tell them I don’t need a ride. You have an American license?” I asked. I never knew how that worked.
He laughed. “Of course. My host family got me a permit once they realized I knew how to drive on the right side of the road. Silly Brits, driving on the left,” he said and I smiled.
I went to sit in the wings once the show started. It didn’t matter how many times I saw it, I loved “Oliver”. Every show in live theater was different and there were no cuts. I had to muffle my laughs when a bird flew in the window and dive bombed the female lead. But she managed to stay in character.
Once the show was over and the kids were back on their buses, we worked on cleaning and storing the props. I passed around tubs of Noxema,the only reliable way to remove the flesh colored Crisco that is stage makeup. Costumes were hung up and put away. Once everything was done, Rasul walked me to my locker. I saw Tray pass on his way to the parking lot and told him I found another ride. He nodded and continued on, Amelia behind him mouthing “Nice!” and winking.
Rasul was driving a blue Taurus that seemed very well taken care of. He opened the passenger door for me and I slid into the seat. I smiled at him when he got into the driver’s seat and gave him directions to my house. It was fairly easy to get to.
We talked about the show and things we found funny during the different productions. When he pulled into my driveway, I saw that no one else was home. “Thank you for the ride, Rasul,” I said.
“Can I pick you up tomorrow? I would like to see more of you, Sookie,” he said, and there wasn’t a hint of double entendre to his comment. I told him that I would like that and arranged a time for him to be at my house before school. I invited him in, but he declined, saying he needed to help his host family do some chores. As corny as I would have thought it was before, he kissed the back of my hand before driving off.
I sat on our screened in porch and the swing, having my after school smoke before either of my parents got home. I day dreamed about sparkling black eyes and a dark complexion the shade of a latte. His black hair was wavy and he was easily six inches taller than my 5’6”. I was definitely looking forward to tomorrow.