A World Away: Chapter 7
I told Sookie what Sophie-Anne had told me and just asked her point blank if she loved me. She said yes, and I my heart just soared. All this time, I’d thought of her and assumed that she loved someone else, and yet it seemed now that she felt the same way I did. Suddenly I felt like an idiot for ever walking away from her in school. Sure, we were young, but what was I thinking? I had no idea then that feelings like this don’t just happen every day. I felt like we had wasted so much time apart and that it was such a bizarre act of fate that had brought us back together to save each other’s lives. It all had to mean something. What it meant to me was that I would never let her go again.
I wanted so badly to make love to her, but my shoulder hindered me from moving the way I wanted. And I didn’t want Sookie to feel pressured to go any further than she was comfortable with. As much as I wanted her, I was perfectly content with anything we did even if it was only holding each other. To my utter amazement, Sookie took the initiative herself and climbed on top of me. I assumed that she was a virgin and thought her to be the kind of girl to save herself for marriage. But I also knew that I would marry her if she would have me.
In spite of my injury and distracting pain, we managed to enjoy the feel of each other as we explored each other’s bodies. Sookie stood to remove her clothes herself—again taking a pleasure that I would have enjoyed had I not been injured. Her body was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen, and in spite of my limitations, I was able to bring her to climax with my hand. Afterwards, she wanted more, which I must admit I loved to see. I was relatively helpless on my back as I watched in awe while this incredible woman took her own virginity as she impaled herself on me. I didn’t last very long, but I did manage to give her a second orgasm just as I reached my own. It felt incredible in spite of the painful heartbeat I felt in my left shoulder. Sookie snuggled back into my side where she fit perfectly and we drifted off to sleep together in perfect shared bliss. I knew that I had finally found again the woman that I would marry.
I woke to a nagging pain between my legs and then remembered why that was so, and I smiled into Eric’s warm shoulder. I raised my head and looked into his stunningly blue eyes. I gave him a soft kiss on his beautiful warm lips. “Good morning. How’s your shoulder?”
“Let’s get the bandage changed. I’d like to have a look at it. How did you sleep?”
“Great.” He returned my kiss before I sat up, careful not to disturb his shoulder. “Thank you for last night, Sookie. It was amazing.”
“Yes, it was. I should probably blush and feign being coy now, but I’m not sorry one bit. It was beautiful. Better than I had imagined. I do love you, Eric.”
“And I love you. I have to get better fast. We have plans to make.”
“Yes, we do. Now let’s take a look here.” I removed the bandage and viewed the wound. It looked pretty good—no sign of infection, but I knew the pain must be intense. I threw on my nightgown and put water on to boil so I could clean around the wound a little more and get a better look. Eric filled the bottle for me and I used his robe to make my way to the outhouse myself. Once Eric’s wound was clean and freshly bandaged, I took a sponge bath myself and put my clean uniform back on. Sophie-Anne made us some coffee and we all had some bread with honey before getting Eric up out of bed. He was able to stand long enough to brush his teeth and shave. I offered to bathe him, but he preferred doing it himself. I waited outside the door, giving him privacy but standing by if he needed me. He emerged in his robe and was able to walk to and from the outhouse himself. I was pleased at his progress.
Around mid-morning, Eric fell back to sleep. I helped Sophie-Anne clean up in the kitchen. I asked her to write her name and address on a piece of paper for me. I had every intention of sending her a thank you gift. I know my southern manners although I couldn’t imagine a gift good enough to express how grateful I was for her kindness. When the kitchen was clean, she indicated that she was going out for something. I was exhausted still from the night before and so removed my boots and carefully lay down beside a sleeping Eric.
I woke to the sound of voices and then the squeak of jeep brakes. I jumped up and laced my boots on and ran to the door just as Sophie-Anne entered with a handful of American soldiers. I was so relieved that we had been discovered by Americans and that now Eric could receive proper hospital care, but then I also realized that we would be separated. I ran back into his room. He was awake and I took his hand and squeezed it as the room was filled with men asking questions.
We never had a moment alone to say a proper good-bye. As I was taken out of the room, I turned and looked back as he said, “I’ll see you soon.” I nodded as I felt my eyes fill with tears, knowing that I would most likely not see him very soon at all. The medic was examining his wound as I left to get into a waiting jeep. Sophie-Anne hugged me to her tightly and cried a tear right along with me. I watched the farmhouse disappear as we rounded the bend away from the place where I had given my heart away.
I was feeling stronger and could not have been happier the morning I woke with Sookie. I was able to bathe and shave myself and use the bathroom alone. As grateful as I was that Sookie had taken such excellent care of me, I wanted her to see me as a man, rather than as a patient. I made it clear to her that I loved her and planned to marry her. I desperately hoped that she wasn’t regretting the previous night. I had never felt more hopeful about my future and had never been clearer about what I wanted.
I was sleeping when I sensed Sookie getting off the bed. Almost immediately the room was filled with American voices. A medic was checking my shoulder as I helplessly watched Sookie leave. I tried to sound optimistic and strong when I told her I’d see her soon. My heart broke when I saw the tears in her eyes and I suppressed the lump in my own throat.
It wasn’t until days later when I was in the hospital that I realized that I didn’t even know what unit Sookie was in. We’d had so little time to talk about details like that. I explained my situation to a Red Cross volunteer and within a day, I had Sookie’s APO address. I wrote her a letter and didn’t hold back. I wanted to reassure her that my feelings had not changed.
I was back at work on the train within a day. I made my report about being abducted and then rescued. I was assured that Eric would receive commendation for his selfless bravery in saving my life at great risk to his own. I received a good tongue lashing at the stupidity of leaving the train in an unsecured area (and I deserved it).
My schedule quickly returned to normal, or I suppose I should say normal under the circumstances. There was a constant stream of wounded men, and I saw Eric in the eyes of all of them. In a way, I hoped that being with Eric had made me a better nurse. After treating countless anonymous soldiers, it was easy to view them as nameless bodies. Staying emotionally detached was a common form of self preservation. But after treating Eric and becoming so incredibly attached to him, I saw the humanity in the faces of the other men I treated. Every one of them was someone’s sweetheart or at least hopefully someone’s future sweetheart. I wondered where Eric was and who was caring for him and hoped that he was healing quickly.
I told Tara that I had known Eric from school, but I didn’t tell her that I was in love with him or that I had made love to him. That all seemed too private even for her and she was my best friend. The whole episode at the LeClerq farm seemed like a world away now that I was back to my regular life. I thought about it all the time of course. I replayed every moment of being with Eric over and over in my mind, and occasionally I would be reminded of a tiny tidbit that I had previously overlooked and it would feel like I had found a priceless treasure inside my own mind, and then I’d play that part over and over. I wondered what Eric must think of me and hoped he knew how much I loved him and wanted to marry him. He obviously realized that I had been a virgin, and so at least he knew that I wasn’t the type of girl to normally sleep with my patients, or any other men for that matter. I hoped I had made it clear enough to him just how special he was to me, and not just because he had saved my life. And I so wished that we’d had more time together or at least a proper and private good bye. I saw men die around me every day and knew that it was a real possibility that my last good bye with Eric may have also been the last time we would ever see each other.
Within a few weeks of being back at work, I got a letter from Eric. My heart soared when I saw who it was from of course and I realized that I didn’t even know his handwriting. There was so much that I didn’t know about Eric Northman, but I hoped to learn it all. My hands trembled as I carefully opened the envelope and read.
My Darling Sookie,
I hope this finds you safely back with your unit. I am fine. The doctor here has complimented you on your sewing and says that my scar should be minimal. I should be flying again within a few weeks. I owe my quick recovery as well as my life itself to you and will never forget it.
Finding you again has given new meaning to my life and a reason to get through this war unscathed, or at least no further scathed that I already am. I’m sorry for all the time I wasted that we could have been together. I should have asked you to marry me the night we met because that was the night that you stole my heart. It has taken me all this time, both of us nearly losing our lives, and finally a chance encounter a world away for me to finally realize what a fool I’ve been. Please forgive me and allow me to make up for my mistake by devoting the remainder of my days on this earth to your happiness.
I don’t want to wait for us to get married. Rumor has it that the Army will soon allow it’s female personnel to marry and continue their service. If you want to stay in the Army and work, that would be fine. With your being in Europe, it would most likely be easier for us to see each other until the war is over. But if you’d prefer to leave the service and go back to the states that would be fine as well. You could live with my sister, Pam, in Shreveport if you’d like until I can get home. I just want you to be happy.
Please let me know as soon as you can arrange some time—even if it’s only a day, and I will meet you so we can get married right away. I miss you so much and think of you constantly. I can’t wait to see you again so we can start our lives together. I’ll wait impatiently for your reply.
All my love,
Tears were streaming down my face as I gingerly re-folded the letter and slid it back into it’s envelope. I noted the date on the letter and realized that it had taken almost three weeks for it to be delivered. He would have most likely already been discharged from the hospital by now, but I knew that the hospital would be able to forward his mail to wherever he was sent next. I found paper and wrote my reply right away, knowing that I had little time to waste.
Eric, my love,
I received your beautiful letter. I’m so happy to hear that you’re recovering quickly. I am fine and back to work, only now I am careful not to stray from the train, nor do I let Tara any more. We can just live without fresh eggs for awhile.
I think my C.O. feels a little guilty about my capture and subsequent imprisonment and I feel confident that he will give me time whenever I want if you can just come to Cherbourg. My routine is most likely more easily interrupted at the last minute than yours, so just come as soon as you can and yes, yes, yes, I will marry you! We can work out the details of where I’ll live and what I’ll do when you get here. We have so much to talk about and look forward to.
I miss you and think of you every day and long to hold you in my arms again. Come as soon as you can.
Your future wife,
I mailed the letter and hoped that it would find Eric soon and that he would come to me. I couldn’t wait to marry him. I knew that I would not be able to stay in the Army, but Eric didn’t know that yet. I would explain it all to him as soon as I could, but that sort of news should be discussed in person. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could wait for Eric, but I was determined to try and hold out as long as possible. Our future together depended on it.