“Well, he really took me by surprise.” Sookie started, thinking back to when they first started dating.
“Yeah, yeah, he swept you off your feet, blah blah blah, I know that part.”
“No, not that. When he started…not being so nice.”
Eric raised his head up. “He never hit you, did he?”
“Oh no! No, nothing like that at all. It was more verbal, I guess. He was really critical of me. When it first started, it was so subtle I didn’t even realize it was happening.”
“What would he do?”
“Just little things. Like, for instance you know how emotional I can be sometimes.”
He nodded with a smirk. “Yep, you’re a crier.”
“I am. Unfortunately. He hated it.”
“Well, I don’t exactly like it either, Sook. It makes me feel terrible.”
“No, I mean he really hated it. He would say things like ‘Do you have any idea how ugly you look when you cry’ or ‘That’s stupid, knock it off’.”
“I can’t believe he said that kinda crap to you.” Eric stopped rubbing her back for a moment. “He basically called you stupid.”
“Right! Thank you!” She exclaimed. “He did that all the time. He never said I was stupid. He said I was acting stupid, or something I liked was stupid. It was so underhanded. We argued about it all the time but he believed if he didn’t call me stupid it wasn’t the same.”
“That’s a load of shit, Sook. It’s the same thing. He was emotionally abusing you.” Eric’s voice tightened and he rubbed her back a little harder.
“It took me a long time to realize it; I just really tried to be perfect around him, to never give him a reason to say that.” She swallowed a little roughly and she could feel his eyes on her. “You know how Mama and I don’t get along all the time?”
“Well, one time Alcide was working on his car. When he was done there was a lot of sweeping to do, so I offered to help. He got mad at me and told me I had no idea how to sweep.” Her voice quivered as she continued. “He told me I was acting lazy and doing a half ass job. Then-then he said ‘No wonder your Mama doesn’t like you’.”
“He fucking said that to you?” Eric growled and turned Sookie over onto her back.
She nodded as the tears ran down her face. Eric pulled her onto his lap and stroked her hair, rocking her back and forth. “Sook, your Mom loves you. She does. You guys are very different.”
She sniffled in response, her face wet against his chest.
“I can’t believe he said things like that to you.” Eric shook his head. “If I hadn’t already kicked his ass I would do it again.”
“Please, Eric,” she whispered, looking up at him, “no matter what I tell you about him, please don’t get into another fight. Please.”
His chest rose with a sigh. “I promise. Is there more?”
She laughed sadly. “That’s probably the tip of the iceberg.”
His grip tightened on her and he leaned them back against the wall.
“I liked to help him when he was re-doing his car. One day he wanted to sandblast the undercarriage to get rid of any rust, and then he was going to paint it. He bought an air compressor and this special mask helmet thing you put over your head. He did it for awhile and it looked kind of fun so I asked him if I could do it.” She chewed on her lip before continuing. “I did it for about an hour. It was really hard work but it was also pretty neat to see the sand take away the rust and make the metal shiny again. I had to stop, because so much sand had fallen on the window of my mask I couldn’t see anymore. When I slid out from under the car and sat up, all of the sand fell into my eyes.”
“Oh, shit, that had to hurt!”
“It did. I cried because it hurt so badly. You know what he did? He laughed and took pictures, because he thought it was so funny. What’s even worse is the same thing happened to him, he just didn’t tell me because he thought he could get a good laugh.”
Eric was finally stunned into silence. He literally had nothing left to say. Instead, he lay down with her, spooning her to his body, wrapping his arm around her and pulling her as close as he could. He kissed her neck and felt her sigh. “Why did you stay with him, Sook?”
“It wasn’t all bad and he said he loved me. I thought I needed to work on being…less stupid.”
He tugged on her until she turned around to face him. “Sookie, you know you aren’t stupid, right? And you know you don’t deserve anything he said or did to you?”
“I know.” She honestly did, but there were times where she blamed herself for letting it go so far.
“You don’t usually take shit from anyone let alone some knucklehead jock. I don’t understand how this happened.” They were lying nose to nose and his hand gently stroked her cheek.
“I think it happened so slowly he just broke me down. Plus, we had sex, so I felt like I should stay with him. He always told me he loved me.”
“When you had sex?” Eric’s voice was low.
“Is that the only time?”
“Usually.” She wouldn’t look in his eyes, humiliated as she was.
“Fuck, Sookie.” He murmured. “Fuck.”
“Are you mad at me?” She panicked. She couldn’t stand it if Eric was mad at her.
“No, God no. I hate that son-of-a-bitch.” He closed his eyes and then looked directly into hers. “Sookie, I love you. I can say that to you without any expectations, because that’s what love’s all about. I would do anything for you. You’re a smart, beautiful, funny and all-around great girl. I should’ve told you these things a long time ago and I’m sorry I waited.”
“Eric.” She was shocked by his declaration. Did he mean he love loved her? Or that he loved her like a friend?
“Can I ask you a few things?” Eric hesitated waiting for her answer.
He focused on their pictures tacked to her bulletin board and finally seemed to work up the courage to continue. “Did you use…protection?”
She avoided his gaze. “Most of the time.”
“Sookie!” He rose up on his elbow, catching her eyes with his.
“I know!” She moaned. “It wasn’t very often…”
“Sook,” Eric sighed, “how did he talk you into it?”
She sat up and they found themselves leaning against the wall again. “I was being dumb, I guess.”
“Come on, you’re not dumb.”
“Do you honestly want to know these things?” She brushed the hairs on his bent knee with her nails.
He squeezed her. “Yes.”
“It happened slowly. I was always really firm about it at first. No condom, no sex.” Sookie sighed, nearly shuddering at the idea of being so intimate with someone who was so cruel. “Then sometimes we would get carried away and start without one, and then stop a little later and put one on.”
“You realize you can get pregnant just from the pre-cum, right?”
She nodded. “I know. Then there were times when he didn’t have a condom at all and I would let him talk me into it, just as long as he, you know…”
“Pulled out?” He whispered for her, sounding almost like his heart was breaking.
“Yes.” The more she opened up to him about her relationship with Alcide, the more she felt like a fool. “It’s my own damn fault.”
Eric hunched over her, cradling her in his arms, brushing her hair from her face. “No, it’s not, Sook. It’s just as much his fault, if not more so.”
He cleared his throat. “Well, because he is older for one thing, and you weren’t his first. He’s had enough sex to know better than that.”
“It felt good.” She said so softly he almost didn’t catch it.
“Sex? Or not using a condom?”
“Both.” She felt ashamed by her answer.
“It’s not worth the risks, Sook.” He tilted her face so he could see her blue eyes, swimming with tears
“I know.” Her chin trembled as she gazed at him, trying to understand all of the emotions in his eyes. “If I could go back and do things over, I would.”
“I’m sorry, Sook.” He pressed a soft kiss to her forehead.
She wiped the tears away. “For what?”
“For everything.” He rested his head against the wall and closed his eyes. He looked angry.
She turned around in his embrace, kneeling between his legs, forcing him to look at her. “Eric, how is any of this your fault?”
“If I hadn’t been such a jerk after homecoming…” He began and she quickly covered his mouth with her hand.
“You weren’t a jerk. You were confused and so was I. None of this is your fault.”
He regarded her quietly, since her hand still rested on his lips. Sighing, he nodded slightly, letting her believe he accepted her claim, even though inside he knew she was wrong.
She sat back on her heels and removed her hand, offering him a half-smile and stroking his hair with her fingers.
“Let’s go to sleep, Sook. You’ve had a really rough couple of days.” He slid down onto his side of the bed.
He sounded tired, so she just nodded. She nestled into his chest and wrapped her arm around his waist, contemplating everything he said to her.
“I love you too, Eric.” She whispered before she drifted off. She felt his body tense and then slowly relax and he placed a kiss on her forehead as she slipped away.
A/N: Thank you so much for all of the amazing comments you guys have made about this story. I am so sorry I wasn’t able to post a teaser or to get this chapter to you sooner. My hand has been extremely painful so it has slowed be down a bit. I promise if we hit ten reviews this time, your teaser will be posted! I even have it all ready to go! 🙂 A special thanks to my girl Jax, who got to beta this twice. 😦 Sorry about that!
I also wanted you to know the things that Alcide said to Sookie, are actually based on a true story. 😦