Chapter 26

A/N:

Wow, over 800 reviews. Thank you so much. I`m terrible at answering them. I`m up half the night as it is, to write this story and I`m really sorry I can`t answer you all. I really love each and every one!

And thank you so much to Rascalthemutant for reading this and correcting the same mistakes over and over again. It seems I`ll never learn the in/on couch-thing *blushes*.

***

I ran out of the room again. When I heard Eric coming after me, I turned around and yelled. “Leave me the fuck alone, Eric.”

Eric stopped in his tracks and I ran on with tears burning behind my eyelids.

Why had Bill said that I never wanted kids? The few times we had even discussed starting a family, Bill had been the reluctant one, claiming he didn`t want his life disturbed by screaming kids and dirty diapers.

I couldn`t really blame Bill for having found a new girlfriend, but it still hurt. He had betrayed me, raped me and now he showed me how little I meant to him.

I was not one to crumble, but I didn`t know how to fight this. I wanted to get away, but since I couldn`t walk through the snow all alone, I settled for a comfortable chair in the hotel library. I hugged my knees and worked hard at keeping my tears inside.

I must have dozed off because voices woke me up.

“Do not threaten me, Peter. You know what will happen if you change your support. I will come down on you and hard.” It was Sophie-Anne`s voice.

The back of the chair was turned towards the voices and it was high enough to hide me completely.

“Eric doesn`t have an heir. That`s all I`m saying.” Peter Threadgill answered.

“He will have. You saw him and Sookie. I wouldn`t be surprised if the little bump on her stomach wasn`t the future president of Northman Enterprises.”

My hand flung up to cover my mouth. The other hand stroked my belly. I had a bump, but it was a perfectly normal female one. How could Sophie-Anne insinuate that I was pregnant just hours after she had told me she “knew” I didn`t want children?

“How can I know she isn`t just another one in the string of women in Eric`s life?” Peter Threadgill spat out.

“You know she isn`t. You wouldn`t have walked out of curling if it wasn`t because you just lost a reason for stabbing me in the back. You were pissed because Eric has finally grown up and found a significant other. Your excuse for not signing the contract disappeared. So I suggest that you just suck it up and put your name on the dotted line and we`ll continue our beautiful friendship the next five years.”

“Five years is a long time, Sophie-Anne.” Peter`s voice showed defeat.

“Just sign, Peter. If Eric hasn`t given me grandchildren when the contract runs out, you are more than welcome to screw me over. Metaphorically speaking, of course.”

“Of course, Sophie-Anne. I prefer my lovers young, you know, so metaphorically would be the only way I would screw you. But I will screw you six times over if Eric isn`t singing lullabies to a little baby by the time this contract runs out.”

“I know how you prefer your lovers. And I`ll make sure my dear sister-in-law also knows it if you breach the contract. Are we clear?”

“We are clear.” I almost expected Peter Threadgill to finish his sentence with `bitch`, but he didn`t. He walked out of the room and slammed the door.

A minute later I heard a sigh and the door opening and closing again. After some time, the door opened again and I heard a worried voice.

“Sookie?” It was Eric.

I got up and walked over to him. “Can we leave, please?” I asked.

“I was just going to suggest it.” He took my hand and pulled me into an embrace. “I`m so sorry, Sookie. I`m so sorry.”

Xxxx

We were back at the apartment and Eric kept hugging me and holding my hand. And he kept apologizing. I had told him everything his mother had said to Peter Threadgill.

“I`m so sorry you have deal with my dysfunctional family, Sookie.” He seemed devastated.

I let my hand glide down his cheek and down to his neck.

“I`m sorry too, Eric, but you can`t help who you are related to.”

“No, but I can`t say it hasn`t affected me. I have a lot of baggage, you know.” He looked serious.

“You have a full set of designer luggage from the beauty bag to the trunk, that`s for sure. But then we all have a couple of bags to carry,” I kissed his cheek and looked him in the eyes.

He started bending down and I automatically stretched upwards, pouting my lips. Just before his mouth met mine, we heard a key in the door and Pam walked in.

“Hellooo, anybody home?” She came into the living room where we were. “Ups, sorry. Didn`t mean to interrupt anything,” she grinned.

I reluctantly stepped away from Eric and went to sit on the couch with Pam.

“You two are getting comfortable, I see. Does this mean I will be calling you sister in law soon? Our mother would be so thrilled.” Pam winked.

“Shut up, Pam,” Eric growled.

“Actually, right now your mother is the only thing holding me back, Pam. I can`t really see any other reasons for not taking Eric up on his great offer than Sophie-Anne pestering me to have Eric`s kids.”

Eric jumped up. “You will? You`ll marry me? That`s just great, Sookie.”

“I think you missed the second part of what I said, Eric.” I tried to calm him down.

“Oh, nonsense. We`ll just tell her to shut up. Neither of us are ready to have kids and that`s the end of that story.” Eric was his old confident self.

I felt I had to correct the impression Sophie Anne had left. “It`s not that I don`t want children ever, Eric.” This was embarrassing. “It`s just not what this marriage is about, right? We are marrying as friends?”

“Of course, Sookie. Now, how soon can we get married? I think there is a week waiting period, so what do you say to getting married next Saturday?”

I gaped. Of course we should get married soon if I didn`t want a police escort to the airport, but a week? For a lot of girls, a year of planning would be too little and I was getting a week. But then, I didn`t have to color coordinate the flowers and the tablecloth, so one week seemed just be perfect.

“Next Saturday is fine,” I nodded after having given it a few minute`s thought. The next thing I knew was Eric kissing me – deeply. I pushed him away and must have looked pretty confused.

“Sorry, Sookie,” Eric said without regretting the kiss one ounce.

“If this is how you kiss your friends, Sookie, I`ll have to remind you that I`m your friend too.” Pam pouched her lips and made exaggerated kissing-sounds.

I couldn`t help laughing. Which was probably good because Eric kissing me had thrown me off balance. I figured it was part of Eric`s roller-coaster-routine and I was suddenly not so sure this wedding was such a great idea.

Xxxx

It was a busy week at work and I never got to ponder much over my imminent wedding. Pam had a sly smile every time I saw her and Eric was all hugs and kisses.

Thursday morning before my wedding, Pam came to my office.

“Can I see your wedding dress, Sookie?” she asked.

She took me completely by surprise. “I don`t have a wedding dress. I`ll just wear something from my closet. This isn`t exactly the white wedding-dress kind of wedding.”

“Actually most women don`t wear white wedding dresses here in Norway. They were their national dresses.”

“Really? Well, I don`t have a national dress,” I answered, wondering what a Louisiana national dress would look like. Beads and flip-flops?

“I know. This is why I`m taking you out shopping.”

“For a national dress?” My tone flew up a little.

“No, silly. A national dress takes a year to make. I want you to wear a nice dress for your wedding. It doesn`t have to be white, but it should be something for the occasion. And a little more fashionable than whatever you have in your closet – no offense. Oh, come to think of it – offense. You have absolutely no taste in clothes.”

“Thank you,” I applied as much sarcasm to my voice as I could.

“You are welcome,” Pam deadpanned. “Now, will you go out with me and get a damned dress?”

“But, Pam, this isn`t even a real wedding,” I tried.

“Yeah, yeah. So you both keep telling me.” Pam took my hand and dragged me out of my office. “Grab your coat now. I don`t want to see a runny nose on Saturday.”

“Yes, mum.” I rolled my eyes.

Xxx

Pam dragged me from shop to shop in the Bogstadveien, the fashion street of Oslo. When she didn`t find anything there, she took me to Grünerløkka where most of Oslo`s vintage-stores were.

I`d never been much for pre-owned clothes – it tasted too much of the hand-me-downs I had as a child – but Pam assured me it was the THE thing to buy.

After yet another hour of trial and failure, a beautiful icy blue dress fell in my hands.

“Try this one. I think it accommodates your breasts,” Pam said. My generous bosom had been the sole reason for most of my dress-rejections. Apparently only women with A- or B-cups needed to dress up, because those were the only ones the dresses were made for.

The minute I put the dress on, I knew it was the one. It brought out my eyes and amplified and hid just what I wanted people to see or not take notice of.

Pam was in seventh heaven. “You will be a fine wife for my dear brother. I can`t wait to see the look on his face when he sees you. I`m just sorry you are marrying in the courthouse and not in a huge church. Ah well, you can do the church-wedding when you renew your vows and make it a real marriage.”

I sighed and rolled my eyes, but kept my mouth shut. Sometimes you know when a battle is lost and making Pam believe I was only marrying her brother to get a work permit was impossible.

Xxxx

I was carrying not only the huge bag with the dress, but also new shoes, a wrap and even a new coat. Pam had claimed that I couldn`t wear that old coat of mine to my wedding so she made sure I got a cranberry red one that looked great with the dress when Pam put on a huge steel blue silk flower on it. Finally she had also talked me into getting new and less practical boots, claiming I would have to wear boots to the courthouse and then change to shoes there because of the snow. “And you don`t want to wear a wedding dress with those,” she had said while pointing at my very warm and sensible winter boots.

Pam had had urgent business to take care of and had left me to carry all the bags home alone. After having balanced them out of the taxi, it was a circus act to unlock the door.

This was why I almost fell into Eric`s house and dropped the bags on the floor with a loud pang. I took off my boots and coat and stopped to listen. A sound from the living room caught my attention. It sounded almost like paper being shuffled.

I looked at my watch and was surprised. Eric usually never got home at this hour. Come to think of it, neither did I.

I opened the door, smiling to my future husband and was shocked to see a mountain of a man sitting on the couch. The living room looked almost like before, but little details revealed that he had gone through Eric`s things. Thoroughly. I drew a fast breath of shock and went into action-mode.

My hand flew down to my purse to get my phone, but before I got that far, the man was next to me, grabbing my hand.

“Don`t,” he said in a warning tone. “My name is Sigebert and I work for Sophie Anne.”

A/N:

What? Did I really leave you with a cliffie? Oh, naughty Thyra10 *giggles*

I hope you liked this chapter. Have a nice weekend!

And now for the commercials:

I have written an entry for the Naughty and Nice contest called Dust Bunnies and Christmas Presents. If you want to read about Sookie being stuck in Scandinavia for Christmas and meeting Eric – well, then that`s the story for you. It`s complete with seven kinds of Christmas cookies and a whole lot of what we all want from Eric :-D. You`ll find the story on my profile.

I also want to recommend another read: My Australian friend Peppermintyrose wrote a one-shot about Eric`s view on sex, rape and relationships (my enterpretation). She has read the books with a magnifying glass and has picked up all kinds of details the ordinary mortals among us (like me) have missed. It`s called The Marks of Resistance and this is where you find it: www . fanfiction s/5667586/1/The_Marks_of_Resistance

My Californian friend Suki59, the author of so many wonderful stories, has decided to sell herself to the highest bidder – for a good cause (the Support Stacie Auction). I really shouldn`t tell you this because I want to bid on her myself, but this is where you register: www . supportstacie phpBB3/ucp . php?mode=register&sid=

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