Eric coasted into Sonic and stopped at one of the carhop stations. “Do you know what you want, Sook?”
She leaned around him to glance at the menu, even though she always ordered the same thing. “I will have a large cherry-limeade and a Chicago dog.”
“Fries or tots?”
“Mmm, they both sound good. I think I want tots.” She tapped her chin while her stomach grumbled. It wasn’t quite dinnertime but she hadn’t eaten much at lunch.
He placed their orders while she giggled under her breath at the amount of food he ordered.
“Feeding an army?” She asked with a smile, glad to be able to relax with him after her doctor’s appointment.
“If we’re considered an army!” He grinned and settled back into his seat, appraising her.
He shrugged his shoulders and brushed his hair off his forehead. “Nothing really. Everything just became pretty real.”
“I know. Imagine what it’ll be like when we hear a heartbeat.” She reached over and held his hand, squeezing it. “I’ll never be able to thank you enough for what you’re doing.”
He kissed the back of her hand. “You don’t need to thank me, Sook. You’d do it for me.” He pulled her along the bench seat until she was settled into the crook of his arm.
“Of course, I’d be happy to watch you give birth to a baby!” She giggled, her petite frame shaking his chest.
“So funny, Stackhouse.” He groaned. “Seriously, though. Today was pretty…intense. And kinda scary. Are you okay?”
“Honestly, I haven’t processed it yet. I’m just trying to get through the week and telling Daddy.”
“Your Mama, too.” He added.
“Nah, I think I will let Daddy do that. She won’t kill him.” Sookie slid her arm around Eric’s stomach, giving him a good squeeze. “Can I ask you something?”
“When did you…I mean- I didn’t know that you…um…” She sighed heavily, struggling to get her words out.
“When did I have sex?” He asked.
“Not too long after you started seeing Alcide.” He admitted quietly.
“Oh.” She thought over what he had said, wondering if he had done it because she was dating Alcide. “Anyone I know?”
“Yeah.” He sighed. “You sure you want the details?”
“I think so.”
“It was Stacy Summers.”
“Your 9th grade girlfriend?” Sookie sat up, surprised. Eric dated Stacy briefly their freshman year. Sookie didn’t care for her much, mainly because Stacy was mean to her.
They were interrupted when their food was delivered. Eric took a big bite of his burger, probably so he wouldn’t have to answer any more questions. Sookie thoughtfully nibbled on her tots, not as hungry as she had been. “Are you guys back together?”
“No! No, it was just something that happened.”
“Did it happen a lot?”
He paused before he took another bite, weighing his words. “Yeah, for awhile it did.” He looked at her, curious. “What is it you are getting at, Sookie?”
“I don’t know. I…I guess after homecoming, I kind of thought that we were going to be one another’s firsts.” Her cheeks flushed red, unable to meet his eyes.
“Yeah, so did I. But even if I hadn’t slept with Stacy that wouldn’t have been the case, would it?” His voice changed like it did when something was bothering him.
She put down her food and leaned forward, burying her face in her hands. “Everything’s so messed up, Eric. Nothing was supposed to be like this.” She fought back the tears as they welled up in her eyes.
“No, it wasn’t.” He responded around the bite he was finishing. “But things don’t always go the way we want them to.”
“Don’t I know it!” She rubbed her stomach. “I’m just a kid, Eric! And so are you! How am I supposed to do this? What am I supposed to do?” Her voice rose with every word.
“Sook, getting upset isn’t going to help you, or the baby.” He scooted towards her and rubbed her back.
“I’m mad, Eric! I’m really mad! Why aren’t you mad?” Sookie’s pitch was just short of shouting and she was glad he parked towards the back.
“Who says I’m not mad?” Eric asked as he forced her to look him in the face, his eyes blazing. “Do you have any idea how it felt when you started dating him, knowing what kind of guy he was? Knowing that he took something from you that –“
“That what, Eric?” She tugged on his hand. “What?”
“That was almost mine.” He gazed into the distance and ran his fingers roughly through his hair.
“I didn’t do this on purpose. I didn’t date him to hurt you. After homecoming I was so confused and you backed off so much, I didn’t know what to think.”
“You promised me that things would go back to normal in a few days and they didn’t! You refused to even talk to me. You abandoned me!” She remembered how much it hurt as she felt Eric grow distant from her.
“I thought they would. I didn’t know it would take so long and by the time I felt like I could talk to you about it…”
“I was with Alcide.” She finished for him. “Maybe you shouldn’t have taken so long.”
“Hey! Don’t blame this all on me! You have a part in this, too.” His voice went up a notch and she could see his hand gripping his thigh.
“Do you really think there wasn’t a fucking day that went by where I didn’t hate myself for taking so long?” He balled up what was left of his food and threw it in the trash outside his window. His eyes glistened.
“Eric.” Sookie rested her hand on his clenched one, trying to get him to calm down.
“What did I do wrong, Sookie?” His jaw clenched. “Will you please just tell me what I did wrong that night?”
She moved so she was facing him, both hands on his. “Eric, I swear to you, you did nothing wrong.”
“Stacy didn’t have any complaints.” He mumbled, refusing to meet her eyes.
Sookie recoiled as if he had slapped her in the face. She knew he was lashing out because he was hurt, but it didn’t make her feel any better. “Take me home, Eric.” She threw the rest of her food away and fastened her seat belt.
“Fuck! Sookie, I’m sorry.” He took her hand but she pulled it away. “I should’ve never said that. I didn’t mean it.”
“Please. It’s been a long day.” She said quietly, leaning against the door her head resting in her hand.
Eric started the car and turned on the radio. They both tensed as the song that played the night of the dance came on. Sookie was determined not to speak before he did. The day had been hot and long, she was worn out.
She felt his hand reach across the seat and hold hers again once they were on the main road home. This time she didn’t pull away and he entwined her fingers with hers. His thumb traced circles on the inside of her palm and she relaxed minutely.
It was seven when they got home and they both needed to finish studying for finals. Eric put the car in neutral, reminiscent of that night so many months ago. He cleared his throat and she knew he was going to ask her again.
“What happened that night, Sook?” He asked, looking into her eyes.
Try as she might, she couldn’t look away. “I don’t know.”
“Yes, you do.”
“Eric, I can’t talk about it.”
“Did you not want me that way?”
She brought her knee up onto the seat, turning towards him so she could see his face clearly while they talked. “Eric, I wanted you more than anything.”
He picked at a piece of fuzz on his shorts. “More than Alcide?”
“More than Alcide.” She picked up his hand that still held hers and placed a soft kiss on it.
“Then why did we stop? I mean, besides the obvious.” His face was nearly stricken with his confusion.
“I’m not ready to talk about it.”
“Any of it? Was it just one thing or a bunch of things? Did I hurt you? Was I rough?” His voice cracked and it hit her in the pit of her stomach. For as tough and strong and capable as Eric was, she realized she made him vulnerable.
She slid her arms around him, holding him close. He hugged her in return and sighed shakily. She whispered against his neck. “You, Eric, were perfect. You were soft, gentle and slow. I was scared of what things would be like, if we would still feel the same way about one another.”
He turned to her ear and murmured. “Nothing and everything would have changed that night, Sookie. It wasn’t something to be scared of.”
She squeezed him again, letting his words sink in. “That wasn’t the only reason.”
“I know.” He felt sure if they continued speaking softly, holding one another close that maybe she would be ready to tell him.
Sookie shuddered and shook her head, letting her face hide in his neck. “I’m not ready to tell you yet.” She whispered.
Eric felt her tears on his neck and he fought back his frustration. Combing his fingers through her hair he nodded.
“I will tell you soon. I owe this to you.” She sniffed and he tightened his grip when she shook again. “I’m trying. I promise I’ll tell you soon. Just don’t go away again.”
He lifted up and settled her in his lap, marveling at how small she was. His hands could easily touch his opposite elbows when he held her like this. He wondered what it would be like when she started to change. “You have my word. I’m not going anywhere. Ever.”
“I don’t know if I am ready for an us, Eric. So much has happened in such a short amount of time, I can barely keep up with the changes.”
He shrugged in response. “Whether there is an us or not, I’m still here.”
“Okay.” She settled against his chest as he loosened his hold a bit. They sat there in silence, thinking about everything that had been said between them, knowing there was plenty left unsaid. Eric held her until the sun set in the sky and with that simple gesture she understood what he had been trying to tell her.
A/N: Hi, guys! I haven’t been updating the story because I have been a little bummed by the lack of reviews. :o( Its hard when a chapter receives hundreds upon hundreds of hits and only a few people comment. I have up to chapter 15, but I am wondering if I should even continue the story? If you are enjoying the store and would like to read more, please let me know! If you aren’t enjoying it, please also take a moment to let me know why and I will work on it. To get better as a writer, we all need constructive feedback. Thanks, guys! And have a Happy Halloween!