Thank you so much for all your reviews, PMs, alerts and favorites. Each and every one warm my heart and make me smile.
Some of you have asked why Eric is interested in Sookie and what is happening to Bill. Your questions will be answered, but not just now. All I can say is that their actions are a result of their personality (or at least how I read their personality in the books).
Thank you again to Rascalthemutant and the Alexander Skarsgård Library Forum for her strong eyes, her questions and her encouragement. No Rascal = no stories from me.
When I woke it was light again and Bill was in bed with me. Oh, thank God! Relief swept over me. Now all would be well. I felt his warm body behind me, and I rolled over, half asleep, and put my arms around him. He eased up my long t-shirt, and his hand stroked my leg. I put my head against the heartbeat of his chest and nuzzled him. His arms tightened around me, he pressed firmly against me, and I sighed with joy, inserting a hand between us to unfasten his pants. Everything was back to normal.
Except for the smell of coffee. Bill had never brought me coffee in bed.
My eyes flew open, and I pushed back against rock-hard shoulders. I let out a little squeak of horror.
“It’s me,” said a familiar voice.
“Eric, what are you doing here?”
“Snuggling.” He flashed a smile at me
“You son of a bitch!” I yelled.
“You need to get up. It`s late. And don`t scream at me. I brought you coffee.” He pointed at a cup of coffee on my bed stand.
“You didn`t have to crawl up in my bed to give me coffee.”
“No, but I wanted to. You looked so good lying in your bed.”
I got out of my bed and stood staring at him.
“Eric, I can`t live in your apartment if you don`t respect my closed door. You can`t just go jumping into my bed because you think I look good lying there.” I felt like I was talking to a five-year-old.
He blew me a kiss and walked towards the door. In the doorway he turned around.
“One day you`ll want to snuggle with me.” He smiled and left the room. I just wanted to scream.
I showered, got dressed and went towards the kitchen. When I came closer, I could hear a heated discussion. I didn`t understand a word since Eric and Pam were having the debate in Norwegian. It could be Swahili for all I knew, I just assumed it was Norwegian.
I tried to listen in when I heard my name being the general theme of the discussion, but since it was the only word I understood, I might as well let them know I could hear them.
“Good morning, Sookie. I trust the coffee tasted good? And the snuggling was to your satisfaction?” Pam smiled a crooked smile.
“Actually…” I never got to finish my sentence.
“I have to ask you to have mercy on Eric.” She snickered. “My big brother was apparently brought up by crazy people and cannot be held responsible for his actions.”
I opened my mouth to respond, but was interrupted again.
“Of course if you do like people coming in and snuggling with you, I`d be happy to volunteer.” Pam had the same eyebrow action as her big brother.
The big brother was no happy camper. All Eric had to say on the matter was a deep-voiced “Pam” but it had a clear effect on his little sister. She left the room, but not without a wink and a little verbal kick.
“I`ll leave you two lovebirds alone, then.”
I inhaled to continue the conversation, but then I had a few epiphanies about where a conversation about Eric snuggling in my bed would end, and I exhaled. I went to get some breakfast and decided to change subjects.
“So what are the plans today? Are we going to start looking for Bill?”
Eric hadn`t moved. He seemed to contemplate something. Then he snapped out of it and looked at me.
“No, we are going to get you a work permit. And then we are going to book you some tickets.”
“Tickets?” I asked. For a concert? A movie? A trip?
“Yes, you are going to the Scandinavian Games Convention in Denmark on Thursday.” He said as if I had forgotten something we had discussed a million times.
“Oooookay?” Why would I go to a Games Convention?
Eric looked at me as if I was being particularly slow.
“Bill will probably be there.” He said as if that was all the explanation I needed.
“Right.” Realization dawned on me. “So I`m looking for Bill at the convention. And if I find him?”
“If you find him, you call me or Chow. And then you approach Bill and make him come back to my company.”
I rolled my eyes.
“Look, Eric. You may have me confused with Tom Cruise here. This is a mission impossible. How on earth do you think I`m going to make Bill come back to you? He already chose Lorena over me.”
“I have reason to believe that Lorena isn`t treating Bill the way he had expected to be treated. He may have expected a position in management and a corner office, but he is basically tied to a chair and doing the same kind of assembly line programming as he did with me. If you could convince him that he still has your heart, he might just come back with you.”
“But that would be lying!” I spurted out. I hadn`t thought my feelings towards Bill through, but now I realized that they weren`t there anymore. In just a weekend I had gone from loving Bill deeply to not loving him at all. I bit my lip. How was this happening to me?
Eric looked at me when a dangerous smile started to form on his lips.
“You are in PR, aren`t you? That`s basically lying.”
The line was out the door of UDI, the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration. Eric had his arms on my shoulders and directed us to stand at the end of the line.
“I`m sorry about this, Sookie. Apparently Norway is the final destination for a lot of refugees and UDI just can`t keep up. But at least you have nice company while waiting for your work permit.” He gave my shoulder a little tug.
I silently wondered if he was this friendly to all people, to all employees or to all women, but I certainly welcomed it, being in a strange country and all.
The line moved slowly, but in Eric`s company the wait wasn`t too bad. After an hour of waiting, we were met by a chubby case worker who introduced himself as Andy Bellefleur. He took us to his office where we sat down in two uncomfortable chairs while he sat at the desk.
“I notice that you have come here on a tourist visa and now you want a work permit?” He asked looking into the screen of the computer.
“Yes, I…” was all I got to say before Eric cut in.
“Yes, Viking Games are asking for a work permit for her just as we have a work permit for all our other foreign employees. I think the formal grounds for a work permit is `special competence`”.
“Yes, I see that you have quite a lot of foreigners employed in your business.” He nodded to Eric and looked at me.
“Are you also a computer programmer?”
“No, I`m in PR.”
“And there aren`t any PR-people available in Norway?” He looked back at Eric.
“No, not with her credentials.”
He looked back at me.
“Why did you apply for a tourist visa in the first place if you were going to work here?”
“I wasn`t going here to work, but…” Again I was interrupted. This was starting to become a bad habit.
“She misunderstood the whole process. She was planning on being a tourist for a little while first, but then it turned out I needed her services immediately.” Eric lied so elegantly that even I almost believed him. Unfortunately Andy Bellefleur was used to people lying.
“You don`t say? So she didn`t come over as a tourist and changed her mind, now did she? You know that work permits should be applied for in the applicant`s home country?”
“Yes, but as I said, there was a mix-up.” Eric and Andy Bellefleur then proceeded to speak in Norwegian. It is very uncomfortable when you hear a lot of foreign words and your name is one of the words among all the gibberish.
Finally Andy Bellefleur and Eric stood up and I got up with them. Handshakes were exchanged and Eric and I were on our way out, leaving Andy Bellefleur with the next person from the line.
“So what was that all about?” I asked when we were back out in the street. Eric put his arms around my shoulders.
“It is pretty hard to get a work permit here in Norway. You need permanent or semi-permanent residence first. You can get that on three grounds: that you are a political refugee, that you have some kind of special knowledge Norway needs or that you are married to or an underage child to someone with a permanent residence. The rule is that only the political refugees can apply for the residency in Norway. The two others have to apply from their home countries.” Eric sighed. “It`s bureaucratic, but that`s the way things are run in this country. They are afraid of giving any kind of special treatment to anyone so they always go by the book.”
“And what does that mean in my case?”
“That I have hopefully managed to make them look a little away from the book. You`ll get a temporary work permit in a week or two and a more permanent work permit is hopefully also on its way.”
We walked quietly for some time. Then I felt something that was nagging me and I had to get it off my chest.
“You know, I could have spoken for myself in there, Mr. High Handed.” I said.
“Explain. I don`t know this term.”
“It means someone who thinks he knows what`s best for everyone. He makes decisions for them without asking them.” Maybe I had put a personal spin on the term, but so what?
“Then I am high-handed.” Eric replied as if I had said he was tall or blond. He still had his arm around my shoulder and I didn`t tell him to move it.
High-handed Eric is here. The fun part is that I dislike when people are high-handed around me, but with Eric… How do you guys like high-handed people? And high-handed, snuggling people? 😀
I may be stretching the Norwegian rules of immigrations/ work permits a bit in this story. They are pretty complicated as my colleague who just married a Kenyan girl, will tell you. We Scandinavians are nothing without a lot of bureaucracy *insert deep sigh here*.
I hope you liked this chapter.
Ha en fin dag! (Have a nice day!)