Thank you so much for your reviews. I really appreciate you taking the time to write them.
I also want to thank Suki59 for betaing this on top of betaing both Dead without a Work Permit and a new multi-chapter story I`ve just started out (about my favorite topic: Vikings :-D). She is busybusybusy. Hopefully I`m not keeping her away from writing her own stories because I love them very much!
I am no romantic but I did get Sookie quite a nice bouquet of flowers for our wedding. She looked stunning as usual. No, she looked even more amazing that usual. She`d put on a nice summer dress that wasn`t alltogether white, since it had little flowers all over, but it was white and long enough to be a very beautiful wedding gown. She made a twirl on the floor of her living room.
I was wearing a suit. It wasn`t just any suit but a smart suit I`d bought especially for the occasion. I`d brought it with me just as I`d brought rings, hoping that Sookie would say yes to me. Well, expecting it, really.
Not that Sookie was a doormat who would do anything I told her to. But I supposed she loved me enough to accept my proposal. And of course the child she was carrying helped sway her.
I knew it wasn`t easy for Sookie to say yes to me. I wasn`t an entire brute who neglected her emotions. She`d recently come out of a very bad marriage that had ended in the worst way possible. Saying yes to me was quite a step.
If I could have given Sookie some more time, I would have. She didn`t deserve to be rushed like this. Not so soon after her divorce from Bill. But I was afraid of losing Sookie if I hadn`t tied her to me with the baby and now the marriage. I would make her happy. And when we were married and she`d moved in with me, I would never manipulate her again.
Because that was what I`d done to her. Manipulated her. She should have had a choice. I was just so afraid of giving it to her.
And now we were getting married.
I was thrilled to see her look so radiant and … happy. Yes, she looked happy. But I knew I was pushing her. Pushing her too much, possibly.
It was just … how could I not? How could I let her walk out of my life? Which she could have – would have, maybe – if she hadn`t been pregnant.
Looking at her, though, I couldn`t regret what I`d done. She was to be my wife, the mother of my child and I would be a very happy man with her – I was sure of it.
“You look amazing, Mrs. Northman,” I said and gave her a kiss.
She pulled back. “Umm, I hadn`t planned on changing my name.” Her voice was stern.
I laughed. “It was only a manner of speaking. Most women don`t change their last names when they marry. Not where I come from at least. Actually it`s become quite fashionable for the man to take his wife`s last name.” I bent down and whispered. “How does Eric Stackhouse sound?”
Sookie laughed and I loved hearing that laughter.
“I like it.”
“Well, if you want me to change my name, I`ll do it.” I took her hand and we walked towards the door.
“Really?” she asked with a smile on her lips. She clearly didn`t believe me.
“Of course.” It would be a small price to pay if it made her feel that I was sacrificing something too. Maybe it would make her agree to move.
“And our child would be a Stackhouse too?”
The smile on Sookie`s lips went from disbelieving to – well, I would say loving. Now, Sookie would never be one to stare at me with admiration every time I burped or farted – which was a good thing because I`d had way too many women in my life who did just that. But it was nice to see that I could do something she appreciated.
And I found that I wanted to do stuff she appreciated. Not to be appreciated but because I wanted her happy.
She checked her watch. “We`ll need to go if we want to make it in time.”
I smiled. “I love you, Sookie,” I said.
She gave my hand a squeeze. “I love you too, Mr. Stackhouse.”
And with that we were out the door.
I didn`t end up changing my name but I did get Sookie to move across the Atlantic.
She wasn`t on the plane right now because of stupid visa laws but she`d ended up applying for a permanent visa at the consulate right after we got married. She would have to wait for the answer from Immigration before she could join me, which had seriously pissed me off, but at least she was coming.
I was a married man, a soon-to-be father and sporting a grin larger than the one I`d worn on my way over to visit Sookie. I knew I should try and sleep on my way back to avoid jetlag but I was so pleased with what had happened in New York, there was no way I could go off to visit Dreamland. Why would one want to dream when real life was so much better?
I picked up the paper the flight attendant had offered me. The great thing about flying SAS – Scandinavian Airline System – was getting papers from home. There was something I needed to check out. Now. I barely read the news about prime ministers making promises and the opposition claiming promises would never be held. Or was it the other way around?
It was the “Houses for Sale” pages I needed. Because I was buying a house. I did a quick scan and then I read the four adds that had seemed interesting, more thoroughly. They were all a bit more expensive than what I had inherited from my parents, but I would do what everyone else did – take a loan. And I expected that my apartment would bring in a few kroner too.
But I would get Sookie and our kid the best house money could buy. Well, the best house my money could buy, at least.
It took almost three months before Sookie was on a plane going east. Three nerve-wracking months where I wanted to go down to Immigration each and every day and punch someone. Or at least to ask them to hurry up.
I`d been so nervous that Sookie wouldn`t get the visa before our child was born. And when I found out that the airlines wouldn`t let anyone who was more than seven months pregnant on their planes, I`d practically bitten my nails all the way down to my knuckles.
Sookie and I had talked almost every day and I`d seen her stomach grow and had been shown the ultrasounds. We`d even done our special skype-thing but though I`d gotten off on it, it had been way too long since I`d felt her skin on mine and her breath on my neck.
Today waiting was over – Sookie would land at the airport around noon and I would be picking her up. And the best thing was – I would be able to show her our new home. A home I hadn`t told her about.
I was exhausted from spackling and painting and buying and moving furniture but I wanted everything to be perfect for her arrival. I`d had some help from a couple of friends but mainly I`d done everything myself. That included installing a brand new kitchen. A kitchen where Sookie and I could cook together.
Yeah, I`d tried to learn how to cook too. Not that I had cooked that much – it`s no fun when you`re alone. But I had ditched that frozen pizza for good.
I`d also started cleaning my house. Sookie would not find any dust bunnies. Or dirty laundry on the floor. I was so fucking proud of how I`d changed and I was looking forward to her seeing it.
I`d dragged her into motherhood and marriage but I was dead set on her never regretting it.
I checked the schedule for arriving planes again. “Bags on belt,” it said about Sookie`s plane. It should have said, “Wife arriving.”
The next chapter will actually be the last one which is a bit sad for me. I like writing this story because it`s been interesting trying to combine how I see Eric and Sookie with things happening to me or to people around me in real life. Yes, I have friends who`ve tricked their lovers into having children with them. It`s horrible and for some it didn`t end well. But for some, and that would be the ones where the lover never found out they`d been tricked, it ended with happy marriages. That still doesn`t excuse what they did and I`m not trying to excuse it by making Eric do it and actually end up marrying Sookie. But I don`t believe in karma or the world being a just place. Sometimes people win by cheating.
On changing names when marrying: It`s become fairly common here for men to take their wives` names. I read somewhere that the most important reason for people to change their last names when marrying is wanting to get rid of “boring” last names. Olsen, Hansen, Jensen, Johansen etc – or –sen names as we call them – are not very popular so people will often give up a –sen name if they marry someone with a last name that doesn`t end with –sen. So if Hanne Hansen marries Jens Østgård, she will be more likely to change her name than if she married Jens Jensen. The same goes if Jens Jensen is marrying Hanne Østgård. He will be more likely to take her name than if she was called Hanne Hansen.
Of course, most couples don`t change their last names at all here. Mainly because they don`t get married at all but even married couples usually keep their own names.