Sookie giggled while she watched Eric shove a huge forkful of spaghetti into his mouth. He lost a strand and desperately tried to suck it back in before it hit his shirt. She put her napkin over her mouth as she laughed, trying not to spit out her mouthful of soda.
“God, Sookie!” His laughter joined hers once he swallowed. “Don’t laugh like that! I almost choked on my food!”
“You? How about me? You shoulda seen your face while you slurped your spaghetti. It was so funny! I was worried about spraying my soda all over the place!”
“Now that would’ve been a night to remember.” He smirked at her, raising his eyebrow.
“Ha, ha, very funny.” She rolled her eyes at his joke. The theme of the prom was ‘A Night to Remember’.
“Always.” He grinned and set his debit card out for their server.
“I love this place. We should come here again.” The restaurant was warmly decorated giving off an authentic feel. Lit with candles placed in old, rustic bottles the wax melted over the side.
“Anytime. I’ll be interning about thirty hours a week at the architecture firm in Shreveport, so we’ll have plenty of extra money to do whatever you want.”
“Between my classes and working at Merlotte’s, I don’t know how much free time I’m going to have.” Her nail poked at the wax spilled on the tablecloth.
“How long are you going to work?” He shrugged into his tuxedo jacket before helping her up. His arm slipped around her waist and they stepped into the evening air.
She shrugged. “As long as I can, I guess. I need to save up money.”
“Do you still have the money your Gran left you?”
“I do. I never thought it would be used for something like this, though.” Her Gran had passed away about five years prior and had left money for her children and grandchildren. Everyone was surprised. Gran was thrifty and pinched her pennies, leaving Sookie around forty thousand dollars. It had been invested immediately and she knew it had grown, but she wasn’t able to touch it until she turned eighteen.
“I know, Sookie.” He reached behind her seat once they were in the car and pulled out a dozen roses he bought for her. “Here.”
“Eric!” Sookie took the flowers and buried her face into the fragrant blooms. The red petals felt like velvet against her cheeks. “What are these for?”
“Just because. I wanted tonight to be special for you.” His eyes sparkled in the moonlight and she felt like she could happily stare into them for hours.
“Thank you.” She whispered, leaning to place a kiss on his cheek.
“You’re welcome.” He laced his fingers through hers as he started the car. “Are you ready to get this party started?”
“I am!” She smiled happily, her heart soaring. She couldn’t believe how much her life had changed in just a week. Although it had been the longest and scariest week of her life, she was so overjoyed to have Eric back in her life. Knowing what tomorrow was going to bring, she felt like she could face it with him by her side.
When they arrived at the country club, she was taken aback at how beautifully everything was decorated. The entire room was covered in white lights, draped through foliage and trees. It made her think of something out of “A Midsummers Night’s Dream”. It was so realistic she wouldn’t have been surprised to see a fairy or elf pop out of the trees in the corner. The dance floor was canopied with branches that were woven together and twinkling white lights created the atmosphere of stars in the sky. The rest of the room was set with elegantly dressed white tables. A table ran along the side of a wall filled with finger foods and drinks, while the photographer was set up in the back, ready to take pictures of the young couples.
“This isn’t too bad.” Eric remarked as they stood in the center of the room, taking in everything around them. “Where do you want to start?”
“It looks like a fairytale in here.” Sookie was beaming, smiling so hard it almost hurt her cheeks. She was so thankful in that moment for Eric, for the good friend she found in him and everything he planned to do for her. She knew she was truly blessed. “Eric?”
He looked down at her, a smile still on his face. “Yeah?”
“Thank you.” She gripped his hand tightly in hers, her thumb tracing his. “For everything.”
“You’re welcome, Sookie.” His face grew more serious and he leaned down, pressing his lips to her temple, before snaking his arm around her waist and holding her tight. His heart pounded under her ear. “How about we start with pictures?”
She nodded, blinking back the tears that filled her eyes. She didn’t think she could ever thank Eric properly. There just weren’t enough words. They stood in line behind other couples, talking quietly and commenting on those around them. Tara and JB were just finishing their pictures and they looked striking together.
“Tara’s so happy.” Sookie remarked, trying to keep the wistful tone out of her voice. “He cherishes her.”
Eric pulled her back against his chest and rested his hands on her flat stomach. “You deserve that, too, you know.”
“I know.” She responded softly. “If I hadn’t made such a mess of things with us…”
“Hey, now.” He turned her to face him, his hand tipping her chin up so he could see her face. “It took two of us to make that mess and what’s done is done. We can’t change the past. The only thing we can do is move forward and do the best we can.”
“I just can’t help but think how different things would be right now, if I hadn’t started dating Alcide.” She shook her head woefully. “He was such a mistake. I couldn’t admit it to myself then, but I can now. I dated him for all of the wrong reasons.”
“We all do things we wish we wouldn’t have. Believe me, there are plenty of things I wish I could take back or do over.” He shrugged his shoulders, but tightened his grip on her waist. “All of those things make us who we are today, and I for one wouldn’t change a thing about you, Sookie Stackhouse.”
“Oh I can think of at least one thing you would like to change, Eric.” She tilted her head, catching his eye, surprised by the look on his face.
He shook his head. “No. I can honestly say at this moment, where we stand, there is nothing I would change about you.” He pulled her close and kissed her softly by her ear.
Sookie’s fingers dug into his back as she held him tight, her heart pounding in her chest. She inhaled deeply, soaking in the scent of his cologne and exhaled a soothing breath, trying to swallow down the lump in her throat. “I wouldn’t change a thing about you, either.”
“Good.” He rubbed her arms. “Now, enough sad talk. I want you to have a great time tonight, you deserve it.”
She leaned her head back from his chest and smiled up at him. “It’s been a wonderful night so far. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. It’ll only get better.” He promised with a grin, before he took her hand and tugged her forward, taking their places in front of the photographer.
A/N: It’s my birthday in a little less than 3 hours! A great gift from you, my lovely readers, would be comments on the story! I hope you all have a wonderful season- Merry Christmas!