*Sniff* This is the final chapter to the tale of Scandinavian Eric and American Sookie. I`m so very grateful to all of you for reading and for all the amazing reviews this story has received.
I`m also very grateful to Suki59 for going through this with her fine tooth comb. She is a great beta!
I was exhausted when I finally picked my suitcases from the conveyor belt. It had been a long flight, I was pregnant – and very much so – but what really made me want to crawl into a stall at the airport bathroom and stay there, was the big decision I`d made.
I`d packed everything in my apartment and either stuffed it into one of the three suitcases I was carrying or shipped. Well, I wasn`t carrying my suitcases as much as laying all my – now considerable – weight behind the cart I`d retrieved and pushing them forward.
Forward to meet Eric.
I knew I was doing the right thing. I loved Eric and love conquers all, right?
But I`d loved Bill too – that was what that nagging little voice kept saying. I`d loved Bill and he`d ended up betraying me and then beating me up.
I stroked my stomach.
And now I was having a child and moving to a strange country and into the life of a new man. A man I loved, yes, but also a man I hardly knew.
I took a deep breath and rolled all my suitcases and knick knacks out through customs and to the man waiting outside.
Eric practically jumped me when he saw me. He lifted me up and hugged me so close I was afraid my water would break. And then he lifted me even higher and said “Hi,” to the baby.
He let me slide a little down in his arms and gave me a deep kiss. After the kiss he snuggled into my neck.
“I`ve missed you so much, Sookie.”
He didn`t let me down on my own two feet until someone coughed behind me. We`d created a huge line of people who wanted to get out of customs to their own lives, their own lovers, their own … decisions.
We had an awkward moment where Eric didn`t take over the cart and I certainly wasn`t expecting to push it – Scandinavian men in a nutshell, I presumed – and then I was walking next to him and my three suitcases to my new home country.
“I only packed my clothes, some personal belongings and a few books,” I said, nodding at the suitcases. “The rest will come later.”
I wondered how I was going to cram everything into Eric`s tiny apartment but hoped we`d managed to buy a larger one before the baby arrived. Our housing situation was something we hadn`t discussed. Actually we hadn`t discussed much of our future apart from when I was going to come and at what time Eric would pick me up.
“Great,” Eric said but I could probably have told him I`d burned everything and he would have given me the same reply. His mind was elsewhere.
We got in the car and I may have dozed off because when the car stopped we weren`t at Eric`s apartment but outside a red brick house. I wiped off the drool from my chin (yes, I may have been in deep sleep – I was pregnant, sue me) and looked at Eric.
First I didn`t understand the Cheshire cat smile on his face but then it dawned on me.
“Why are we here, Eric?” My voice was a bit angrier than I`d intended.
“Come in and see it,” he said.
“You arranged for us to look at houses the day I landed?” I asked though I knew this was not the case.
“No, Sookie,” Eric grinned. Eric was 13 years younger than I but right now he looked like a little kid. And I probably looked like his angry old aunt.
He pulled me out of the car and inside the house. It was a lovely house but I could not see it. I was tired and I was mad. How could he have bought a house without me? Decided on such an important part of our future without involving me?
He opened the door and I could smell the paint and see all the new furniture. It looked amazing and would probably be a perfect home for us.
“What the hell did you do, Eric?” I asked.
I felt like a wet blanket, a spoil sport and a really mean person because Eric was so happy and that made me even angrier. How dare he spring this house on me and make me feel like I was wrong for wanting to have a say in where we were going to live?
I could see the hurt in his eyes and that made me feel even crueler.
“I bought this house for us. I spent all my time …. ” he started.
“Without me?” I asked.
“Well, of course. You were …,” and then his face turned from hurt to angry. “You`re pregnant, Sookie. I wanted to surprise you. To make it perfect for you.”
We stared at each other, neither of us wanting to back down. Then he turned on his heels and left.
He left me all alone in a strange country, in a house I`d never been in before, tired and miserable and regretting everything.
I opened my suitcase, pulled out my toothbrush, brushed my teeth and went to bed. I did not have the energy to deal with Eric`s anger. Or my own.
It was dark when I woke up. I went to the bathroom – one has to go every two hours when one has a baby pressing on the bladder – and then I located the kitchen. It was a very beautiful, and clearly new, kitchen. But I didn`t want to admire it too much. I just wanted a cup of coffee. Strong coffee.
I brought my cup into the living room, found myself a nice chair and sat down. Just as I`d had my first sip of coffee, I heard the door opening. Eric came into the living room.
He sat down on the couch.
“There`s coffee in the kitchen,” I said.
Eric smiled a little and got up. He came back with a mug in his hand.
We sat for a very long time, the only sounds were us blowing on our coffee and sipping it.
“Are you hungry?” Eric asked.
I looked at him. “I am, actually.”
“I`ve prepared dinner, believe it or not. I just need to heat it up.”
Half an hour later Eric had set the table and brought in a lovely lasagna and some salad. He poured me a glass of milk.
I laughed. “Milk?”
Eric blushed a little. “Well, yes. You can`t have wine and … I like milk.”
“So that`s how you grew so tall?” I teased.
“Yes, that`s me. A poster boy for milk.”
We were quiet for a little while. Then I took a deep breath.
“Eric,” I said. “You can`t make big decisions like that without including me.”
Eric looked down. Actually he seemed to take it much harder than I`d expected him to.
“It`s a lovely house, Eric,” I continued when he didn’t say anything. “But I wanted to have picked it with you. And paid for half of it.”
Eric looked up.
“You`ve had a lot of things happening to you lately, Sookie,” he said. “You`ve had to adapt to so much. I just wanted to ….” He stopped talking.
I glanced at him and then I nodded for him to continue.
“I will include you in important decisions in the future,” he said after awhile. “I promise.”
I smiled. Eric would not say he was sorry. I knew him too well for that. But this was close enough.
“Thank you.” I leaned back in my chair. The baby took up a lot of space. “It is a lovely house.”
That made Eric grin. “I think so.”
“Maybe we should christen this house properly?” I batted my eyes exaggeratedly.
Eric had to heat up the lasagna again before we`d christened the whole house. And afterwards, when I was in his arms that night, having whispered how much I loved him and had “I love yous” whispered back at me, I knew I had made the right choice.
If people had asked me if I wanted to have a baby with a man who lived across the ocean, who was so much younger than I was and – most importantly – a man I hardly knew, I would have laughed at them.
But I figured I hadn`t made that bad a choice when I`d married Eric. I was expecting a child I had never thought I would have and since Eric was so young, it would only be fair that he got up every night when the baby cried, wouldn`t it?
I fell asleep with a smile on my lips.
I hope you enjoyed this tale. I`m a bit sad to let it go but all things must come to an end.
That doesn`t mean that I`ve stopped posting stories. Dead without a Work Permit is still active and I`ve just finished writing a one-shot called Eric the Viking. Sookie reads one of her favorite romance novels and suddenly her hero – the sexy Viking she is reading about – jumps out of her book and into her living room. Is everything like in the romance novels? This story will be more humor than romance and I will hopefully post it in the near future.
I`m also working on a multi-chapter story about Sookie the Shieldmaiden – a fierce Viking warrior – and how she sets sail on Sam Dogbreath`s ship, only to meet another blond warrior – Eric the Northman.
Does anyone see a pattern here? *blushes* Yes, I have a thing for the Viking age.