Well needless to say I could only cover up so much of my shiner; Russell was not pleased when he stopped by my desk to chat. I told him what happened and he told me he was proud of me for standing up to the asshole. He only wishes I would do as the kids advised and divorce the lazy ass. I chuckled at him and told him, “okay dad I will let you know.” Russell was more like a father than a boss and I loved him and Talbot to death, they were my BFF’s and I enjoyed their company. He told me if I needed the company trucks to use them and not to rent a U-Haul and waste my money. I told him thank you, now to just find someone who could drive it.
Well I had a repeat of my work day reaction at the gym, it wasn’t my day for my trainer but that didn’t mean that Jack didn’t stop by to chitchat while I was on the treadmill or elliptical. When he saw my eye, the whole gym saw him holding my face and screaming ‘What the Fuck’. Alcide came running over and told me in no certain terms he would kill Preston for touching me and if he did it again he would follow through with the threat; got to love the Herveaux’s they were very protective over me in such a short amount of time.
I liked having friends I could rely on. I told them about what started it and that I got in the way. They didn’t like the idea of the kids being alone with Preston after I left for the weekdays but since Andy was willing to go by nightly they would let it slide for now. They had seen this type of situation progress from bad to worse when they were with SPD so I was going to heed their advice and keep close track of the situation.
I told them I was moving this Saturday. I would be picking up my furniture in Monroe that morning and driving it to Shreveport that afternoon so that I could be all moved in for Sunday night. I told them the kids figured it would be easier for me to be home Friday night to Sunday night so my commute would be easier.
They asked me who was helping me and I told them my kids, that we would be fine. Jack was the first to say bullshit and Alc followed suit. They were quick to respond with a kind offer that they would be at the house by 8:30am and they would bring the truck from ED with them and a couple of pickups just in case. I asked them how they would bring three vehicles and they said they were bringing friends, just make sure I had drinks and snacks and possibly lunch and everything would be done without me and the kids hurting ourselves.
I was stunned and grateful.
I just wasn’t too sure how they would get a group together that quickly but I knew they had friends and I was extremely grateful some of the furniture might have been too heavy for me and the kids, I hadn’t moved in over 15 years so I knew I was out of my element.
The week went by fairly quickly.
Pam had found the perfect furniture for my little apartment. She found a small couch and reclining chair, end table w/light, coffee table and armoire (TV stand) for my living room; a round table and chairs for my kitchen (of course it had 4 chairs), plates and bowls, pots and pans, silverware for the small kitchen; a bathroom shelving unit since there was next to nothing in the bathroom, a pretty shower curtain with dragonflies and butterflies on it, she even bought me new towels and bathroom fixtures to match.
I was in heaven with the purchases she made.
But the biggest surprise was what she picked out for my bedroom. I told her to just get me a twin bed but she didn’t, sneaky little bitch, she ended up splurging and buying a King size bed with matching dresser and night stand and another armoire for a TV system. I didn’t think it would fit but she ran by the apartment after she found it and Liam let her measure the space, I would have more than enough room.
The last two items that she purchased were two flat screen TV’s, since I don’t watch TV I thought it was a waste but the boys disagreed, she even bought me a Wii, my thoughts were so that they could have something to do if they visited, but her reasoning was she got me the Zumba and Dance Dance Revolution in case I couldn’t make it to the gym.
Kids got to love them.
When I arrived home Friday night the kids were excited for the moving day. The boys had gotten a couple of friends to help us out and Tara and Felicia were there too. They figured I needed their expertise to fix up my apartment. I think it was an excuse to check out who was going to help us. Pam had told them about Alcide but I had no clue who his helpers would be.
The kids all spent the night and Preston disappeared until the wee hours of the morning, no shocker there, he was still figuring I would come to my senses. I didn’t care except that the kids sleeping over didn’t need to hear his bull shit.
He was still screaming at me when Alcide and his crew showed up. Alcide didn’t even knock he just let himself in and Jack followed, they told him to back off or he would be getting a Come to Jesus real quick.
Preston being the drunken asshole he was said, “You and What Army”, that’s when three gentlemen walked into the house and stood behind Alcide.
All Alc did was point over his shoulder.
Damn I wouldn’t have messed with Alc let alone him and Jack but the three guys behind him where just as built and not looking too happy to boot. Two of them I noticed were trainers from the gym but the third a tall blonde I had never seen before.
Let me just say I squirmed a bit and I bet my panties were quit wet.
I looked over at the girls and they were all fanning themselves, they were all too young for these guys but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t be drooling for the day.
I was going to be right there with them.
Preston stormed out of the house and I called Andy to let him know he was drunk and behind the wheel of his car. Andy said he would look for him and put him in the drunk tank to sober up. I told him that was fine that it was moving day and I needed him out of the way. He asked if he could stop by to talk to the kids before he went out looking for Preston. I told him sure we would be leaving about 9am to head to Monroe to pick up my furniture.
Alcide introduced us to his band of merry men as Jackson, Rasul, Maxwell Lee and Eric. I thanked all of them for their help and I asked them if pizza would be okay for lunch, they told me no worries since they would be working off the carbs. I tried to talk to each one of the guys individually but Eric stayed away from me, he spent more time with the boys and I was curious why he wouldn’t talk to me.
I asked Jack and he said that he tends to be shy around new people. I looked at Jack and he started cracking up; I told him there is no way in hell that man was shy, he was nervous and I couldn’t place why. I guess I would figure it out later.
Andy came by and talked to the kids and gave him his personal cell phone number in case Preston started anything with them.
It made my heart ache a little that I was leaving my kids but I knew this would be easier on all of us if I could make myself happy again. The kids could see I was tearing up and they all (the seven of them) came over to give me a group hug. Well let me tell you that lead to five BIG guys getting in on the group hug too.
I looked up and Eric nodded and smiled at me, it was the most he had done in my presence since he arrived. It was like he was telling me everything would be okay.
We packed up the pickups with what was small and at the house already, the guys even took care with moving my work clothes since I really didn’t need much at home I took all of it with me. The girls were helping me pack my incidentals when Eric came in the room and turned around just as quickly as he came in. I hadn’t noticed until then that Pam was showing off a couple of LACE PANTY AND BRA sets to the girls… Okay fifty shades of RED… My shade of RED must have been the same as the panty set.
Shit that was not how I wanted Eric to remember me.
Everyone figured we could double up in the vehicles, Jack said there was no reason to waste gas and take extra vehicles. Eric was driving a four door pickup and the girls opted to go with him. Maxwell Lee was driving another four door pickup and the boys went with him and Rasul, yes the boys all squeezed themselves into the back seat they were not riding with THOSE girls even though they liked Eric. I thought about going in Eric’s truck to make sure the girls didn’t bother him but Jack told me I was with him and Alcide in the work truck.
As we headed toward Monroe, Jack and Alc asked me what was up Preston’s ass this time. I told them he just figured I would back down and have everything go back to normal. I told them that wasn’t going to happen and he was just making it easier for me to go see a divorce attorney. I was feed up but I wanted to make sure my kids were taken care of and safe before I threw him out of my house.
Jack asked me why I don’t just walk away from the house. I explained to them that it was my house, the deed was in my name and it was paid for but the kids went to Bon Temps High School and I was not going to make them change one and two years before graduation.
They both nodded their approval.
Alc asked me how long my marriage has been over and I told him, probably about ten years now but I couldn’t bring myself to divorce my husband, I still loved him but not the way I should.
I was comfortable and I was afraid of change. It was a poor excuse but it was how I felt.
Jackson told me to be careful on the weekends when I go home and if anything happened to call and he would come get me and the kids. He said there was no way I was staying with Preston if he was being drunk and disorderly.
I thanked him and told him it meant a lot to me.
My dad had died many years ago so Jackson and Russell were the closest I had to a dad in a long time. My step-dad Fintan wasn’t much to write home about and my mother Michelle hasn’t talked to me in years so to me she is pretty much dead too.
We talked some more and Alcide and I learned a lot about our lives since we left high school and caught up a bit. He wanted me to come to dinner at his house every once in a while so I didn’t get lonely. I told him we would see but the way my scheduled looked I didn’t think I would have much time for that. The only time I would have that was different was my morning commute time and night time commute time.
I would have an extra two hours to myself.
When we arrived at the furniture store we proceeded to have an argument with the warehouse guys. Apparently some jack hole resold my furniture and they were loading it onto a company truck for delivery as we spoke.
Well needless to say my merry men were NOT HAPPY. I wasn’t either but have you ever seen five large angry men, it was much worse than a fifty year old five foot five midget woman. I was going to let them handle it.
They all trudged into the showroom and demanded to speak to the manager.
Well when he walked out he thought he was going to be talking to Pam and me and get us to buy something different or wait for a new bedroom set to come in. Well let me tell you that wasn’t going to happen. I was surprised that Eric took the reins on this one. He had Pam’s paperwork in his hands and asked the manager what right he has to sell already paid for furniture. The manager had the gull to say he didn’t trust that he was not being ripped off by a child, even though the payment went through.
Pam looked offended and said as much.
Jackson walked up next to Eric and explained to the manager what trouble he would get into if they decided to call the police department about selling already sold furniture. We had made arrangements to pick up the furniture today and we had paid for the furniture in full with a PAID IN FULL, IN STOCK stamp clearly on the paperwork.
Eric proceeded to tell the manager that my furniture would be unloaded from the company truck and placed in our truck and he had fifteen minutes in which to accomplish this.
Eric came over to me and put his arm around my shoulders and told the manager we are waiting for our furniture, your times starts now.
He was acting like my boyfriend and I was shocked.
Well let me tell you that a bolt of electricity or whatever you would call it when he touched me nearly bowled me over. I looked up at him and I could see in his blue eyes that he felt it too.
What the hell was that?
He leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Sookie you felt that too?”
All I could do was nod YES.
We stayed like that for a few minutes until Alcide came up and put his arm around me on the other side.
He joked to Eric saying, “You trying to steal my girl Northman?”
Oh shit, Eric was the Training Director at the gym. OH shit I was going to see him more and on a daily basis. Oh shit why was his actions making me act and feel like a teenager again.
All that kept going through my head was if he would help me break in my new mattress. I hadn’t had real sex in over five years.
A quickie is not real sex.
I had better sex with my toys than I did with Preston.
Stop thinking that way you are too old for him. He must be in his late twenties and that was tooooo young.
I had to excuse myself from the boy’s death grip. I told them I needed to use the restroom.
When I got there, there was two catty girls in there already, apparently they worked at the cashiers desk and had noticed us walk in the store. They were trying to figure out which one of the guys I was with because it was just a disgrace that I was allowed to be with any of them since I was such an old hag.
I waited for them to come out of the stalls, to let them know that the old hag was with the Tall Blonde one. And if they kept it up I would be showing them what this OLD HAG could do to them. I hadn’t noticed that my girls had walked in and were standing stock still when they heard I was with Eric.
All I heard from the cashier’s was, ‘WHATEVER’.
From my girls I got HIGH FIVED.
How the hell was I going to explain that I wasn’t with Eric? I was using him to shut those girls up. I was going to have to tell Eric and let him know in case any of the girls said anything.
As I left the bathroom I saw the cat sisters at their registers watching me. I slipped back over to Eric and whisper to him to put his arm back around me.
He didn’t hesitate.
He asked what was up and I told him.
He chuckled a little and asked me where the cat sister’s were at, I told him toward the front of the store at his nine. He just nodded, smiled and then bent me over and gave me the kiss of a life time. I didn’t hesitate; I gave back as much as he gave to me. It was the best kiss I have ever had. The girls were laughing, the boys we gasping and saying WAY TO GO MOM, Alcide and Jack were snickering and Rasul and Maxwell asked when it was their turn.
I was beet red when he let me up for air but he pulled me to his chest to let me calm down. I didn’t know how I was going to calm down attached to his chest but I needed to since the warehouse called my name and said my load was ready.
He walked out of the store holding my hand and our entourage followed. Jason asked me what was up so that he could tell the other guys. I told him that two girls in the store called me an Old Hag and I told them I was with Eric and he was playing along, I told him there was nothing between us just a friendly ruse.
His response, “You make a cute couple and Corbett and I approve.”
Okay slack jawed.
The girls now knew what was up and I am sure they gave Eric the fifth degree on the ride to our next stop and then onto Shreveport.
Jason filled in his car of merry men and I clued in Alc and Jack. They laughed at me that I was acting like a teenager. But Jackson took it one step further and said, “I looked happy and if Eric did that for me to go for it.”
Well of course I blushed again there was NO WAY Eric would want an old woman, I was too old.
Late twenties remember.
The rest of the trips were uneventful. It was noonish when we arrived in North Shreveport, so instead of ordering in I had the boys stop at Applebee’s on Mansfield Road so we could have a sit down lunch. I really wasn’t a pizza kind of girl. I ate it when I had too but I preferred not to.
Well when the thirteen of us walked in it was like the restaurant stopped to gawk. I spoke up and asked for one round table and two booths. They situated us close the bar and the kids on the outside of us. It worked out well. I told the waitress to put everything on one check and that I was paying. Well you would think I caused a riot with all the bitching I was getting, it wasn’t the kids it was Alc, Jack and Eric.
They wanted to pay.
I told them NO, I was paying because they were helping me and if anyone could afford it was me.
They wouldn’t back down. So once the order was placed I excused myself to the restroom. I spoke to the manager and our waitress and they took my credit card and were going to charge it for me so no one would see the bill until I had to sign it.
When I got back to the table, Eric leaned over and called me a sneaky bitch. Apparently he went over to the manager and tried to do the same thing but I beat him to it and the manager told him it was taken care of.
He squeezed my knee and held my hand for most of the meal when I didn’t need it to eat.
I was confused. Was he still playing along with the ruse? Was he trying to make me feel good about myself?
I was almost in tears when I figured he was placating me.
I needed to survive the next few hours and then it would be all over.
Finish lunch, unpack the trucks, drop off the work truck, pick up Jack’s truck and then take us all back to Bon Temps.
How was I going to make it through the rest of the day, SHIT…
The unpacking went by as well as can be expected. When it came to my bedroom I stayed out and let Pam handle it. I figured I would never be able to be in there while Eric was, I needed to avoid him.
He and I was a bad idea. All I could think about was that kiss and the bed needed christened.
Shit… shit… shit….
I am married and old and what the hell would he see in me anyway. He could have any woman he wanted especially an unattached one.
The day was creeping along and it was time to take us all home but since it was dinner time I told Jack we would stop somewhere on the way back so we can eat and relax and then head back to drop us off. The only person that needed to leave because he had plans was Maxwell Lee but he was driving so when we got back to Edgington Designs he left with Rasul since Maxwell was his ride, which meant we had to shift a bit in vehicles. Jack’s SUV would carry 6 people comfortably and Eric could take one more so we figured we would be fine.
Now was I to be Eric’s one more or let Alcide ride with him?
I figured it was best to let Alcide decide and I just follow suit. When Alcide walked over to Eric’s truck I thought the choice was made until Jack walked up behind me and whispered to me. “Alcide wants you to ride with Eric; we think he would be good for you. We know you are married but you told us earlier that your marriage ended years ago, give the boy a chance he will make you happy.”
I just stuttered, “Jackson, I am too old for him. I cannot start something up with him while I am still married it would be wrong on so many levels. Besides he is like 28 and I’m 50 which is too much of an age difference. The kiss and the hand holding was just a ruse and I am sorry if he thinks it is more, I just can’t do this.”
So I walked over to Jack’s SUV and got in the front sit. The decision was made. I was riding with Jack.
As I looked in the side mirror I could see Eric’s face and it deflated.
What had I done?
We stopped at a little Italian place that Eric knew about. They had a long table for the eleven of us to sit at.
Eric knew all the waitresses and they were all flirting. And it was pissing me off.
Why the Fuck would I be jealous? He wasn’t mine. I had no right to be jealous.
I sat between Alcide and Jack, Tara and Pam flanked Eric, Felicia was flanked by Jason and Corbett, and Hoyt and Calvin filled in the rest of the empty chairs by Corbett and Alcide.
One big happy family.
I was miserable. Alcide patted my shoulder and said lets go for a walk. He had a feeling he knew what was wrong with me but he wanted to speak to me in private.
I told him okay.
Before I left I told the kids I need them to mind Eric and Jackson and no screwing off, to behave.
We went out the front door and Alcide handed me his phone like I had a call. It was a ruse to talk, openly.
“Sook what’s up with you? Ever since the apartment, no Applebee’s, you aren’t yourself. What happened? Did Eric do something? Did one of the guys say something rude? Talk to me.”
“Alcide, I’m sorry, the kiss, the hand holding was a ruse and it’s gone too far. I am a married woman. I might be unhappy but I am still married. I will not cheat. I will not date until I am divorced. I have a few morals left that I haven’t given up on. I think Eric is a catch and would probably make any girl happy, but why ME. I am older than him. He is like 28 and I am 50 just like you, that’s just too young Alc. I would love to date him if I was younger and I could believe that he actually likes me for me but what the hell do I have to offer except baggage. He saw the asshole I am married to, does he really want to put up with that. Can he accept me for me? I probably make 3x as much as him, to some men that is a little intimidating. My kids, they will always come first, can he live with that. I don’t think he can. The kiss he laid on me was one hell of a kiss and it will be in my dreams always but I just think he is placating me now and I can’t have my heart shredded again. I can’t.”
“Sook, listen to me. He likes you. He has seen you at the gym. Yeah he is intimidated by you but not because of your paycheck. But because he thinks he is not worthy of you. He likes you and he thinks you would be fun to hang out with. He loves your kids and they get along well. He saw what a dick Preston is and he is still not scared away. Give him a chance and he is 37yrs old not 28. You are closer in age not a big difference like you thought. Hell Sook, I would think you are in your early forties if I didn’t know we went to school together. Just think about it but please get the Sook back that we had all day, stop over thinking it. Ride home with him when we leave here, ok, just give him a chance.”
“Alcide, I love you I do, but again, I.AM.MARRIED…. if he continues to flirt with the waitresses I will not ride back with him, it will hurt too much. I like him I do and more than I want to admit, but it’s too soon, I don’t want him to be a rebound, he is worth more than that.”
We went back to the table and everyone was joking and having a good time. Eric wouldn’t look me in the eye. I guess I screwed up whatever was there already. FIGURES.
I guess I didn’t have to worry about my baggage affecting our relationship; there wasn’t a relationship to worry about. I tried to bring my cheerfulness back. Pam and Jason told me to stop worrying about Preston, he deserved to be alone and they were having fun with my new friends.
I smiled at them and told them I loved them. We ate and talked for about an hour or so, when I went to go pay the check it was already taken care of. No one would tell me who but I had a feeling it was Eric but I didn’t know how to pay him back. I would figure out a way.
I rode back with Jack since Eric didn’t give me the time of day all during dinner or through our after dinner talk. It was a bit awkward but I would get over it. I knew I would see him on occasion but nothing I couldn’t handle. I would be nice and say hello nothing more since he surely didn’t want anything else from me.
When we arrived home, Preston was sitting on the front porch with a pissed off look on his face. He started in on us again while we went up the steps. Jack and Alc tried to get him to stop and it was Eric that finally got him to shut up, but that was only because he punched him the face and it was lights out. I called Andy to let him know so that he couldn’t press charges; Andy told me not to worry all was good.
Jackson was worried about leaving us alone and I told him we would be fine, I would call Andy if I needed to. Pam motioned for me to get Eric in the house his hand was bleeding.
Shit, I should have noticed that. I motioned for him to go into the bathroom so I could take care of his hand.
It was a bloody mess but he said he didn’t feel anything. I told him to give me a moment I would be right back the bandages I needed were in my in suite bathroom. I thought for sure he would stay there but he followed me and shut the door.
“Sookie, what did I do to you that you stopped talking to me at Applebee’s? Did I offend you? I like you, is that a problem? Talk to me please. I thought we shared something special at the store was I wrong? Please talk to me.”
And then he pulled me close to him and laid the mother of all kisses on me again. I didn’t stop him, I fell into him again and this time I lost all my will power, Preston never French kissed me but the battle our tongues were playing was a war I never wanted to end. I felt like my body became part of his, I climbed him like a tree and wrapped my legs around his waist not wanting to ever let go.
I would run out of breath before I wanted this kiss to end.
However he pulled away and looked at me. Willing me to answer him.
I knew I was blushing but I needed to answer him. I had just totally embarrassed myself. I climbed him like a damn tree, who does that when your husband is in the other room.
“Eric, I am too old for you. I did feel something earlier and again now but I don’t want you to be a rebound and I am still married and my morals tell me this is wrong even if my body tells me otherwise. Can you honestly look at me and tell me that you could see yourself with an old woman like me, one with kid baggage and soon to be EX baggage? One where you don’t care how much I make, which is so much more than you. Can you honestly tell me that you find me attractive and want me for me and not just a trophy of some sort? By the time we were finishing at Applebee’s I thought you were just placating me by holding my hand or squeezing my thigh. At first it felt romantic and then it felt like you were trying to make an old woman happy. I couldn’t take it. Then at the apartment all I wanted to do was get you into my bedroom and make love to you and christen my new bed but that was wrong in so many ways, it should have never crossed my mind. Then at the restaurant you were flirting with the waitresses, it made me jealous and then you were avoiding eye contact with me so I figured whatever was there was gone because of our age. I felt deflated and it scared me. I can’t let you shatter my heart like Preston did. I just can’t.”
And with that he stormed out of my bathroom without letting me doctor his hand, he stopped long enough to get the kids’ phone numbers so if there was ever a problem they could call him and he would come out to get them. He didn’t trust Preston and he wanted them to be safe.
I just stood there I was shocked he never answered any of my questions, he just left.
Shit what did I do?
Jack and Alc said their goodbyes and gave the kids their cell numbers too, the kids would be well looked after finally. It sure wasn’t by their father but by strangers that they had just met.
I was devastated by the one who walked away.