“Eric, why didn’t you ever call me back?”
Kneeling beside Sookie with his ear to her abdomen while she slowly stroked her fingers through his hair and more content than he had been in years, Eric went still.
What? What did she just…did she just ask…
Her question tore through his brain at the hot speed of wishes he dared not express, but before he would risk his heart on vile, fickle hope yet again, he had to be utterly certain about what she’d said.
Far too much rested on her simple question to take any chances.
After eliminating the Yakuza and “tidying up” a few hundred other things and while dealing with dear Sarah and the new synthetic blood, he and Pam had seen to the reparation then reopening of Fangtasia. Pam had been incessantly vocal against either one of them having anything at all to do with “that vermin-infested establishment”, but Eric had refused to abandon the place, or more specifically, that location in Shreveport, LA.
He wanted Sookie to be able to find him, to reach him, to call him, if she ever wanted or needed to.
Eric ground his teeth and fought hard to keep his fangs retracted.
If what he thought he heard just now was true, there was only one possible explanation, one he dearly dreaded. No Maker could abide being betrayed by their own progeny in any way, and he had already tolerated more than enough…
“What did you say?” His voice was deathly quiet as his mind seethed with suspicion, shock, and no matter how he fought it, desperate hope.
The lovely fingers twirling through his hair stopped, and Sookie replied with a voice that trembled slightly, “I…I was wondering why you didn’t ever call me back.”
In the blink of an eye, Eric was on his feet before her with an arm on each side of her chair as he stared down into her wide eyes.
The sudden intensity in Eric’s eyes made Sookie’s heart give an optimistic leap. He was acting as if he hadn’t even known…
She was very confused by the way he was acting. The whole evening so far had rattled her as badly as Thanksgiving night had, but for far different reasons. Eric had run cold then hot, silent then snarling, standoffish then as tender as she could ever want…and now this?
“Sookie, when did you call me? And where?”
His heart ached a bit at the uncertainty evident on her lovely face. He knew his actions had to have confused her, and he would gladly discuss things with her later…after he knew what the fuck was going on.
“Fangtasia, and it was about a month or so after Bill died. I left a message with Pam for you to call me back because I wanted…well, it doesn’t really matter what I wanted, not now I don’t guess. But…”
“Of course it matters,” he growled.
Of course it mattered! All this time… All this precious, wasted time… I will kill that fucking bitch…
Eric abruptly stood and turned to pace the too-short length of the kitchen/dining area, his face hard and his movements sharp as he considered all the ramifications of one missed call.
He wanted to yell and demand that Sookie tell him everything immediately, but a glance at her weary face as well as consideration for her pregnant state stilled his voice if not his thoughts.
She had called him!
What had she wanted? Had she needed him?
Why hadn’t Pamela told him?
Had Sookie maybe missed him, too?
Willa, having observed everything quietly from the kitchen, decided it was time for her to make herself scarce…after relieving some of the mounting tension, of course. Preggos don’t need too much stress all at once.
“Sookie, I’m going to run a few errands then I’m going to the store. What do you want me to pick up for you? Any weird cravings? You know I love when you have them.”
Relieved to have a momentary break from what was sure to be a drama, Sookie laughed. Willa really did get a kick out of the weird combinations of foods that she craved.
“Ketchup, onions, sardines, and we already have eggs here, right?”
At the brunette vampire’s nod, Sookie continued, “Ok, then add pistachio pudding and a can of SPAM, please. Oh, and some Cool Whip to go with the sardines!” She had to laugh at the expressions on both the vampires’ faces.
With a mischievous grin, she added, “And orange sherbet, of course.”
Willa had to laugh at that. Her blonde friend had been craving orange sherbet off and on for months. “What, no broccoli to go with it this time?”
Sookie nodded – it was a given. “Oh, yeah, definitely bring the broccoli, too.”
After Willa left, Sookie decided that she’d be more comfortable reclining on a couch in the living room with her legs up, and Eric was immediately by her side helping the moment she started to stand. She couldn’t help but compare this helpful, considerate Eric to the uncaring one from earlier that evening, but chose not to mention it.
His mind still reeling and feeling grateful to his youngest Child for giving him time to spend alone with his Sookie, Eric did what he could to help settle his pregnant telepath in the living room.
Once he was sitting beside her with her swollen ankles in his lap so he could gently massage them, he asked, “So, you left a message with Pamela?” His voice was deceptively gentle, but if what Sookie was saying was true – and she had no reason to lie – Pamela was soon to be in a world of hurt.
“Yeah,” Sookie answered, unhappy that her affirmation would probably get Pam in trouble, but not wanting to lie either. “I asked her to tell you that I’d called and that I wanted you to call me back, but you never did.” It had never occurred to Sookie that Pam wouldn’t deliver her message, but judging by Eric’s reaction… That fucking bitch!
At that moment Eric knew that he would hold Pamela personally responsible for every single thing that had happened to his Sookie from the time of that call.
“I never received your message, Sookie. If I had, I certainly would have called you back. Actually I probably would have returned your call as I drove to your house that night. You know that, right?”
He needed her to know that. His heart dropped at the doubt on her face.
“Sookie…” He paused to consider his words, then chose to simply speak the truth. In an instant he had Sookie pulled into his lap with her poor swollen feet still on the couch but now pointing in the opposite direction.
The unfamiliar weight and width of her gravid body felt both odd and comforting as he wrapped one arm about her back to hold her close.
“Sookie, look at me, please.”
When she did, she gasped softly at the look of absolute adoration in his bright blue eyes.
“I can’t do it anymore,” he stated as he threaded his fingers through her hair. “I can’t sit here and pretend that you’re not my life, that you’re not the magic that keeps me whole. Because you are. I have missed you so much…” he broke off to place a soft kiss on her temple. He rested his lips there while he inhaled deeply and savored her pregnancy-enhanced scent.
A few moments later Eric wrapped his other arm around her shoulders and pulled her even closer into his body as he remembered how cold and dark and bleak his nights had been without her.
“And to think that all this time…” He could no longer keep the anger from his voice.
A soft sniffling from the woman in his arms drew his attention, and he pulled back in horror when he smelled her tears.
He lifted her chin up and asked, his eyes large with dismay. “What is this? Sookie, I’m…”
Sookie roughly wiped the flow of tears off her face and gave a proper sniff before smiling timorously. “It’s ok, Eric. These are happy tears. It…it sounds like you’ve missed me almost as much as I’ve missed you.”
*A/N: You know your pretty words make me all happy and stuff, right? 😀 Hope you liked it!**