I`m sorry for having kept you waiting for this chapter, but my last week has been one of those you just want to scratch from the calendar. Luckily you gave this story so many great reviews on the last chapter and that really lightened things up. Thank you!
And thank you to Rascalthemutant for reading this through and saving me from accidentally using slang that means sperm haha. I look forward to seeing you, Rascal!
I also want to thank Suki59 for the talk about how American Immigration interview people who are suspected of marrying to get a green card.
I spent an hour moving Eric`s things over to my room and making his room look as if no one had lived there for a long time.
It was weird going through Eric`s clothes. I couldn`t help sniffing his shirts, but they of course didn`t have that very distinct Eric-smell I had come to like so much. They were clean. I found a thick sweater, though, that did and I found myself lying on his bed wrapped in it for five minutes. Or was it 20?
Eric`s drawers also called for my attention. The sock drawer was boring, but the one with his underwear seemed to shout at me. I had always thought that guys were either `boxers` or `briefs`, but Eric had just about any kind of undergarment ever produced. Including a couple of guy-thongs I prayed I would never see him in. A pair of red, shiny briefs had me wondering as they were clearly a couple of sizes too small.
I was dreading emptying his nightstand, worrying I would find porn magazines or something worse, but all I found were condoms and lubricants. Which was embarrassing enough. And then there was a picture of me. It wasn`t a revealing picture one could suspect him of doing things to I didn`t want to think about. It was our wedding photo. Of course, Eric could probably jerk off to that too, but somehow it made me breathless to see our wedding photo in his nightstand drawer. It made me go and smell his sweater one more time. And his pillow-case.
When Eric came home later, his apartment looked like the apartment of a couple of newlyweds who were jumping each other like bunnies. I had thrown Eric`s condoms away as I figured it would send the wrong signals if we were using condoms and not the pill, for instance. In my mind, condoms were for shorter relationships, not marriage.
I realized I knew very little about what kind of contraceptives married couples would use, but I made a deal with myself to get some birth control pills to put in the bathroom. For show, of course. I had no use for birth control as things were now.
“Good afternoon, my dear little wife,” Eric said with a smirk and handed me the most beautiful roses in a color I had never seen before. They were pink with a little hint of green in them.
“Thank you,” I said with surprise in my voice.
“It is customary for a husband to bring his wife flowers from time to time.” Eric sounded as if he was trying to convince me. Did I look that skeptical?
“And the wife would then do what? Kiss her husband?” I teased.
Eric bent down and turned his cheek towards me. “I do think she would,” he smiled.
I got on my toes and gave him a kiss. Not on his cheek, but on his mouth. That wiped the smile right off and it was my turn to smirk. I was half expecting him to throw his arms around me and kiss me back, but he didn`t. He straightened himself up and looked at me, face all neutral.
“I do think I will bring you flowers every day,” he said almost to himself while walking towards the living room.
Jonathan without a last name came back at five and didn`t even wait for an invitation before he walked in.
His eyes scanned the whole room and then he looked at us.
“No wedding photos?” His voice had an air of accusation and I knew he was looking for things to nail us with.
Apparently Eric drew the same conclusion because he pulled me close to him. I leaned into his embrace, trying to tell myself it was only to convince Jonathan, but knowing that wasn`t the only reason. I felt at home in Eric`s arms and I could have slapped myself for feeling that. When had I grown so comfortable with Eric?
“Our wedding photos are all over the gossip press, but we have been a little too busy to have them framed ourselves.”
I looked at Eric with as much lovey-dovey in my eyes as I could muster. “You are of course forgetting the one we have in our bedroom, sugar.”
The question in his eyes disappeared when realization hit him. He bent down and said in a lower voice, just loud enough for Jonathan to hear it. “Of course not. But our bedroom is private.”
Jonathan smiled a crooked smile. “I`m sorry to tell you that nothing is private when I`m concerned. We need to know everything to make sure you did not marry just to get your wife…” he spat out the word `wife` as if he didn`t believe it for one second. “… a work permit.”
Eric looked at Jonathan. “Do you honestly think I would give up my playboy life just to get a work permit for an employee?”
“So you are saying that you love your wife? That the mighty Eric Northman has turned a new leaf and is now a one-woman man?” Jonathan almost laughed at his own joke. He really made me wonder about Norwegian bureaucracy.
“Of course I love my wife. I wouldn`t marry for anything less than love.”
He sounded so convincing, my eyes sought out his face to see if I could read anything there. If I could find the lie. The joke. I couldn`t see anything, lies or the truth.
Jonathan looked at me and I knew what was coming. I held my breath.
“And you love your husband, Ms. Stackhouse?” He pronounced the Ms. almost as Miss.
I swallowed as inaudibly as I could and took a little breath. “I don`t really see how this is any of your business, but yes, I do.”
My first thought was to pray that he didn`t see through my lie and then it hit me. Was it a lie? I caught a quick breath and, as if Eric could read my mind, he gave me a squeeze. I had my arm around his waist and squeezed him back without really knowing why.
Jonathan looked through our bedroom, checked the toothbrushes lined up next to each other in the bathroom and even lifted the covers to check the sheet. It took me a moment or two to realize what he was looking for and when it hit me, it made me make a mental `eew`.
He then motioned for us to give separate interviews. I had to sit in the bedroom while Jonathan questioned Eric. It took them about half an hour and then it was my turn.
Jonathan looked at me as if I was a liar and a cheater even before I had answered any of his questions.
“How did you meet Eric?” was his first question. I cursed myself for not having gone through possible questions with Eric in advance to make sure we gave the same answers. As it was, I figured I would have to tell him a lie based on the truth and told him about Bill and laid it thick about how I had fallen for Eric when Bill had disappeared. I made our first trip to Copenhagen into the turning point in Eric`s and my relationship. It was technically the first time we had been physical, so it was easier for me to lie about it and add emotions to the situation.
Jonathan asked all kinds of questions about Eric`s and my time together and I kept sticking to the truth, but adding love wherever I could.
“And now I need to see how much you know about Eric. What`s his favorite food?”
I paused. What was Eric`s favorite food? He loved almost everything. “I`m not sure. He likes a lot of different kinds.”
Jonathan smiled a sardonic smile. “His answer was `any food he cooked with you`.”
My mouth was open. Eric had said that?
“Well, I certainly love cooking with Eric.” I quickly turned my surprise into a smile.
“And his favorite sport?”
“Uhm, I`m not sure. Football?”
Jonathan smiled and I knew I had given the wrong answer. What was Eric`s favorite sport?
Jonathan kept testing my knowledge about Eric and then he started asking questions about me.
“I have to see if Eric`s answers about you are correct.” He looked at his papers. “When was your last period?”
“Your last period. If you really are lovers, you husband would know when your period was.”
“It`s now actually.” I said without thinking. Then I started backpedalling. Eric wouldn`t know that since we weren`t lovers.”But Eric doesn`t know. It just started today,” I lied.
“Eric seems to think it started yesterday,” Jonathan looked at me.
I gaped for just a second. Long enough for Jonathan to notice. “Of course. It was yesterday,” I said.
“And what do you use for contraceptives?”
I gasped again. I was like a fish on shore.
“I really can`t see how this is any of your business.”
“If you are lovers you are either using contraceptives or not, but you would both give me the same answer.”
I thought for a moment. Then I figured I would have to stick to the truth. “Condoms,” I whispered and blushed.
“This was what Eric said, but I found no condoms in your bedroom.”
I blushed even harder. “We used them all. We need to buy more. Or start something else. We are discussing it.”
Jonathan nodded and made a few notes while I looked around to find a hole to hide myself in.
After another half hour of heavy questioning, Eric was called back to the living room. He sat down on the couch next to me and took my hand in my lap. His thumb caressed my palm and I couldn`t help leaning my head on his shoulder. I felt as if I had messed up and ruined everything and just wanted to apologize for all the trouble I had made him go through.
Jonathan looked at his papers and then up.
“It seems as if you know everything there is to know about your wife.” He looked at Eric. Then his eyes turned to me. “But you don`t know that much about your husband, do you?” I stiffened. “This is actually the opposite of what we usually meet and I will have to read your answers very carefully before I give my verdict.”
He got up and walked towards the door. He put on his coat and boots and looked at us, standing there arm in arm.
“You will hear from us.”
“Give my regards to Mr. de Castro,” Eric said when Jonathan was half way out the door. I had no idea who Mr. de Castro was, but Jonathan apparently did. He looked shocked to his core.
“I am sure I don`t know who you mean,” he said with indignation in his voice.
And with that he was gone.
Eric and I stayed in each other`s arms for a few minutes until I started feeling uncomfortable. Or maybe I was feeling too comfortable with his arm around my shoulder. I walked back into the living room and sat on the couch, half expecting, half hoping Eric would sit down next to me. To my surprise, he chose the chair.
“I`m sorry,” I said with a sigh.
Eric looked genuinely surprised. “For what?”
“For putting you through this, for not giving better answers, for….” I wanted to say something about the awkwardness between us, but couldn`t.
Eric looked at me, his eyes scrutinizing me, almost reading my mind.
“This is nothing, Sookie.” He made a gesture towards the door Jonathan had walked out of.
We sat there for a while. Then I remembered something.
“Who is Mr. de Castro?”
Eric got up and walked towards the kitchen and I came with him.
“He is my uncle. My father`s sister`s husband.”
I went through everything Eric had told me about his family. “He is the husband she found in Spain?”
“Yeah.” Eric sighed and retrieved meat and vegetables from the fridge. I remembered what Jonathan had said about Eric enjoying cooking with me, so I started to wash the vegetables. A little smile showed on Eric`s lips.
Eric never elaborated on his uncle and I never asked him. We cooked a great meal and ate it while making small talk. We laughed a lot, as we always did, and had a great evening.
We played a card game that included hitting the table all the time and were enjoying ourselves, but with my first yawn, reality hit us. I walked towards my bedroom. Our bedroom. Eric followed me.
“How do we do this, Eric?” I asked.
He looked at me. “I said I wasn`t going to initiate anything before you did and I won`t. But I still think we should sleep in the same bed. Jonathan might come knocking in the middle of the night or early in the morning to see if he could catch us sleeping in different beds.”
I blushed slightly at the thought of Eric in my bed. “I can handle sleeping with you,” I said, trying to convince myself as much as Eric. When I saw Eric`s smirk, I rolled my eyes, but I couldn`t help laughing. “The operative word here being `sleeping`,” I continued.
“Yeah right,” Eric winked and went to the bathroom. I quickly changed into my pajamas while he was there, but when he opened the door, I saw that he had other ideas of what was appropriate sleep attire when in bed with a woman you weren`t supposed to be romantically involved with. He was naked.
“Eric,” I screamed while closing my eyes and holding my hand over them. Of course the short glimpse I got of his body was forever tattooed into my brain.
“What?” He asked with innocence in his voice.
“You can`t sleep naked.”
“I always sleep naked.”
“You can`t sleep naked next to me,” I sighed, still with my eyes closed.
“Why? Are you afraid you won`t be able to control yourself?” I could hear his smirk. I could even hear his eyebrows waggling at me.
“Put on pajamas, Eric. I`m serious,” I yelled.
“What?” I screamed.
“No. I hate sleeping in pajamas. They are for kids.” He paused. “And for prude Americans, apparently.”
“I`m not a prude,” I huffed. “But you can`t expect me to sleep next to you when you are wearing nothing.”
“Of course I can. Most wives do around here.”
“Eric,” I said in the sternest voice I could muster. “I`m not your wife. Not like that.” I was getting uncomfortable with the situation. “At least put on some underwear.”
I could hear movement and a drawer being pulled out.
“You can open your eyes now, Sookie.”
I peeked out between my fingers and found Eric standing there in a pair of boxer briefs that didn`t hide very much, but it was still better than him being naked.
“Thank you,” I said and went to brush my teeth.
Eric was under the covers reading a book when I returned to the bedroom. I walked over to the other side and got in under the covers with him. I didn`t really know what to do. Should I give him a goodnight kiss, a hug?
I turned my head to him and he put his book down.
“Thank you for doing all this for me, Eric,” I said.
“You`re welcome, but I`m doing it for me,” he answered without explaining.
I took his hand under the cover and gave it a squeeze.
“Goodnight,” I said and then I turned off the light on my night-stand. A few minutes later Eric did the same thing.
We were on our backs, my hand still in his and both awake for quite some time. Then I heard Eric turning and I opened my eyes. In the moonlight I could see that Eric was now on his side, looking at me.
“I`m sorry,” he suddenly said.
“For what?” I asked.
“For teasing you like that.”
I let out a little air. “Thank you. It`s just that… I can`t… I`m not…” I wasn`t sure what to say.
“I know,” he said and then he pulled me over onto my side, spooning me close enough for me to have his strong arms around me, but loose enough for me not to feel his strong chest and other body parts. I caught myself wishing he had pulled me closer.
I thought I would never manage to fall asleep, but it turned out I slept like a baby in Eric`s arms. When I woke up the next morning, we were face to face and our legs were tangled in each other`s. Eric had one arm draped over my waist and the other one was between us, holding my hand.
His breath was warm and sweet coming out of his mouth in little snores. I couldn`t help touching his full lips with the tip of my fingers.
Eric stopped snoring and opened his eyes.
“Good morning, my dear wife,” he whispered.
I smiled at him. I had thought I would feel uncomfortable sleeping with Eric without `sleeping` with him, but I felt great. I felt safe and warm and a little fuzzy inside. I thought about kissing him for a minute or two, but said no to myself. I enjoyed just looking at him, having him near me. I didn`t want to ruin it.
“Good morning, my dear husband.”
We looked at each other for a while, just smiling and enjoying the moment.
“I actually liked waking up with you,” I said after a while.
“You sound surprised?” Eric smiled.
“Well, yes. I mean, I`m not in the habit of sleeping with people… men. I was pretty sure I wouldn`t get a minute`s sleep.”
“Most people… women…” Eric teased, “don`t sleep when they sleep with me.” His smile was now the smirk I knew so well.
I pushed him and he rolled over on his back. “Eric!” I half yelled, half laughed. “You bragging about all your former lovers is not winning you any medals here.”
Eric turned his head and his eyes had that special light they got when he was about to say or do something way out of line, but then it disappeared. His smile was gone too.
“No, it isn`t, is it?” was all he said.
It was busy at work. Christmas was getting closer and apparently all of Norway closed down for a week or two because of the holiday. And the last month before Christmas people were taking half days off to buy presents or attend Christmas parties. Christmas was a huge thing around here.
This was why I had almost forgotten about the strange date Eric wanted me to go on that night. It wasn`t until Eric popped by my office to remind me of it, I started to think about who he wanted me to meet.
“You have to tell me who this guy is, Eric.”
Eric shook his head. “I don`t know much about him. I mean, I know he`s a British businessman and that his reputations is…” Eric`s pause made me curious. “Well, to put it like this; normally I would never have wanted you to meet him, but he did claim to have met your grandmother when she was younger and that he had information about her that he wanted you to have. And as much as I know your grandmother meant to you, I couldn`t say no to that.”
“Gran? What could he possibly know about Gran?”
“He wanted to tell you directly.”
“But why did he come to you and not to me?”
Eric looked uncomfortable. “My mother has had some business dealings with him so he knew me somewhat. I guess he wanted an introduction to you.”
“But you don`t like him?”
“No, I don`t. Rumors has it he`s linked with the British mafia and I thought my mother should have stayed away from him.
“The British mafia? They have mafia in Britain?” I couldn`t help giggling. I mean, I thought the mafia was Italian or Russian – maybe Japanese. But British? What did they do to make people talk? Threaten them with British food?
I went home before Eric to get ready. I was wearing my favorite color, blue, and was just adding a little mascara when Eric knocked on the bathroom door.
“Sookie?” he asked.
“Are you ready?”
I opened the door. “Yeah. I`m ready.”
Eric had changed into a suit and he took my breath away just by standing there. If there had been a Norwegian GQ, he would have been on every cover of it.
He smiled at me. “I`ll be close by. Don`t worry.” And with that we walked down to his car.
It was only about 10 minute`s drive but we were in a part of Oslo I didn’t know too well. It was definitely out of the main shopping area, with which I was fairly familiar.
The businesses were small and pricey … what retailers called `boutiques`. We pulled into a group of such shops. The restaurant was called Feinschmecker and a sign on the door said it had a star in the Michelin guide. I had never eaten at so many fancy restaurants as after I had met Eric.
I looked down at my clothes, feeling suddenly uneasy.
“Don’t worry, you’re beautiful,” Eric said quietly. He leaned over to unbuckle my seat belt (to my astonishment), and as he straightened he kissed me on the mouth. His bright blue eyes blazed out of his white face. He looked as if a whole story was on the tip of his tongue. But then he swallowed it back and unfolded himself from the car to walk around to my side to open the door for me.
“I thought you weren`t going to kiss me before I kissed you?” I asked him when I got out of the car.
“You needed it,” was his short answer.
From his tension I realized that some major event was coming at me fast, and I began to be afraid. Eric took my hand as we walked across to the restaurant, and he ran his thumb absently across my palm. I was surprised to find out there was a direct line from my palm to my, my, hootchie.
We stepped into the foyer, where there was a little podium with a woman looking at us. The woman standing was beautiful and black, her hair shaved very close to her skull. She wore a draped dress of orange and brown and the highest heels I had ever seen. She might as well have been wearing toe shoes. She smiled brilliantly at Eric and had the sense to give me a share of that smile.
“A party of two?” she said.
“We’re meeting someone,” Eric said.
“Oh, the gentleman…”
“Right this way, please.” Her smile replaced by a look almost of envy, she turned and walked gracefully into the depths of the restaurant. Eric gestured for me to follow her. The interior was fairly dark, and candles flickered on the tables, which were covered with snowy white cloths and elaborately folded napkins.
My eyes were on the hostess’s back, so when she came to a halt, I didn’t immediately recognize that she’d stopped at the table where we were to sit. She stepped aside. Seated facing me was a man with white hair, blue eyes and a huge smile.
The hostess spun on her high heels, touched the back of the chair to the man’s right to indicate I should sit there, and told us our server would be with us. The man rose to pull out my chair and hold it for me. I glanced back at Eric. He gave me a reassuring nod. I slipped in front of the chair and the man pushed it forward with perfect timing. He sat down on the other side of the table.
Eric didn’t sit. I wanted him to explain what was happening, but he didn’t speak. He looked almost sad.
“You must be Sookie Stackhouse?” the man asked. He looked at Eric. “Or is it Northman?”
“Nope, Stackhouse is just fine.” Eric`s reluctance made my voice just a little edgier and sharper than planned.
The man smiled. “The same spirit as your grandmother.” His English sounded as if he was royal. Or at least aristocracy.
“Who are you?”
“Please forgive me. My name is Niall Brigant.” He nodded slightly. I was sure if I had given him my hand, he would have kissed it.
I caught Eric`s eye and he made a signal to say he was leaving. I nodded and then I was alone with a strange white-haired man. I looked at the man opposite me.
“No, I mean, who are you? Why did you want to see me?”
The man was quiet for some time then his eyes bore into mine.
“I`m your grandfather.”
“What? No. I mean, I know who both my grandfathers are.”
“Your grandmother`s husband was sterile. They couldn`t have any children and I guess your grandmother was set on having some so when I…”
I hissed. “You be respectful of my grandmother now.”
He smiled. “Of course. My apologies. Adele Stackhouse was a fine woman. Respectable. I fell in love with her the moment I saw her and I had to work very hard to charm her. I think it was the grief of not having any children that made her look my way at all.”
“What were you doing in Bon Temps in the first place?”
“I was, well, I had to lay low for a while so I changed my identity and lived in various places in your beautiful country. Bon Temps soon became my favorite place of hiding.”
“Because of my grandmother?”
“Adele stole my heart.”
“What about my grandfather?”
“He was away a lot. He was a travelling salesman.”
“And you made her cheat on him for years?”
“I asked her to marry me. To elope. But she declined. She loved your grandfather even if I thought I had a little part of her heart too. And then of course your father and aunt came along and she wanted them to grow up in Bon Temps. With your grandfather as their father. When it was safe for me to go home, I did.”
“You left your children behind?”
“I figured they were better off with your grandmother and grandfather. I did try to send her some money, though, but it was always returned to me.”
“I can imagine.” I snorted.
We sat quietly for a while and ate a lovely meal I couldn`t really taste. This had been overwhelming news. When the waitress got the empty plates, I answered no to her question about dessert. I wanted to go home.
The man who apparently was my paternal grandfather got up when I got up. I looked at him.
“Why did you want to see me in the first place?”
This was the first time I had seen him look less than cool and collected. He coughed slightly.
“You are the only relative I have.”
I shook my head. “What does that mean? I can`t suddenly be your granddaughter.”
He took my hand. “I know that, but at least I have someone who can inherit from me now.”
“What?” I yanked my hand back. “If my grandmother didn`t want your money, then neither do I.”
I walked out of the restaurant and hoped it would take him a long time to pay the bill. When I came outside, Eric was waiting by his car. He must have been freezing standing out here in the blistering cold.
I jumped into the car without saying anything. Eric got in too and looked at me.
“Just drive,” I said. To Eric`s credit, he was great at taking orders.
When we were home, I sat down on the couch, not saying a word, just looking straight ahead. Eric asked me if I wanted anything to eat or drink, but I shook my head. How could I eat or drink now? The anchor in my life, the only person I had ever trusted, my sweet old grandmother had not been who I thought she had been.
Jason had always been an unfaithful man-whore who screwed everyone in a skirt – and everyone out of it too. And now it had turned out that he got his genes from Gran? I wanted to throw up.
“I`m going to bed,” I finally said, hoping sleep would drown my pain.
“Good idea.” Eric was right behind me.
We got ready for bed without saying anything and soon we were in the same position we had fallen asleep in the night before. It brought me consolation to have Eric`s arm around me, but I also welcomed the fact that I could trust that he wouldn`t be trying any funny business. Sex was the last thing I wanted right now. Actually, I was pretty sure I never wanted sex ever again.
My head was spinning from the news. My sweet, old grandmother, the person I had held highest in my life, the one person I had trusted and who had taught me right from wrong, had cheated on my grandfather for years? With a mobster? I couldn`t believe it. I thought I had known my grandmother and now I was told she was a completely different person than I had thought she was. I felt as if the whole world had turned on me. That I could never trust anyone when I couldn`t even trust Gran.
I heard Eric`s breath even out and I let my tears flow freely. After a while I started crying for real, sobbing and sniffing. Suddenly I felt a pair of strong hands turning me around and drying my tears away.
“Shhh, Sookie. It will be ok.”
“No, it won`t,” I sobbed. “My grandmother was not who I thought she was.” And then I proceeded to tell Eric about what Niall Brigant had revealed.
“It doesn`t mean anything, Sookie. Your grandfather is still your grandfather and your grandmother was just being human. And Niall Brigant does not have the right to interfere in your life. I`m just mad at myself for letting him talk to you.”
“It doesn`t change the facts, Eric.” And then I started to cry even more. “It`s just too much. I can`t handle anymore of this.” I sniffed loudly. “I lived a pretty boring life back home, but all this….” I broke down and cried even more.
“Your life with Bill,” Eric said and I couldn`t help giggling through the tears.
“Yeah, my boring life with Bill.”I laughed and I cried.
But Eric didn`t laugh and it made me open my eyes and look at him. I could see his face in the moon light. His jaw was tight and his lips narrow. And his eyes looked sad.
“I shouldn`t have brought you away from the life you were living back in Louisiana. It was wrong of me.”
“Eric, this is not your fault.” I had stopped crying.
Eric looked at me. “Maybe not this, but all the other shit that has happened to you. I should never have tricked you into coming here.”
I looked at him and suddenly my hand was in his hair.
“Then how would I have met you?” I asked and I realized I meant it. And that made me cry again.
I hope you liked this chapter. It was a bit longer than usual, but I suppose you don`t mind that 😀
Just to let you know (a lot of people have asked me about it): All my stories are also posted at www . alexanderskarsgardlibrary forum and I`m working on putting them all on the new fanfic site www. alexanderskarsgardlibrary fanfic too.
If you are a writer yourself, writing Alexander Skarsgård related fanfic (TB/SVM, Generation Kill etc) you are more than welcome to post your fics there as well as here.
But just because I`m co-posting elsewhere, which I`ve been doing all the time, does not mean I`m leaving this place. I love it here – various technical glitches and other stuff apart.