Love Is Hard: Chapter 2
I kept checking the clock, wondering if Sookie was through with her procedure. I had no idea how long it took to x-ray fallopian tubes.
We were in pre-production at Sony on a remake of Roman Holiday, making my hours fairly reasonable. Rehearsals started the following week and then we would leave for Rome a month later to shoot. I realized that being away for three months would not be conducive to baby-making, which put even more pressure on us to get it right before I left. I couldn’t remember the last time I had an orgasm for pleasure rather than business purposes. Who knew that making love could be turned into such a chore?
When Sookie and I moved into Brentwood, we decided it was time to start trying to get pregnant. Most of our friends were already ahead of us, except for the single ones, and even a few of those had had children either by themselves or from a previous marriage.
I had been trying to get Sookie to quit working anyway, and the move seemed to be a place to start a new chapter in our lives. She could relax and run the household. We had no money worries. It might be wrong of me, but I was relieved to get her away from Alcide Herveaux, and even more relieved to get her away from Sam Merlotte. I know what I am, and that’s the jealous type.
It was just a coincidence that Sam became one of Sookie’s clients years after being Amelia’s boss. He owned the restaurant in West Hollywood where Amelia worked when we first moved to L.A. Then he opened another one in Beverly Hills. A third in Santa Monica followed shortly after, and then his television appearances began. Thanks to Sookie and Herveaux Public Relations, he became the celebrity chef on every morning talk show, every news segment that featured food. And, of course, there was the promotional tour after his cookbook was published. Sam was very handsome and personable and it was hard not to like the guy. That is until I found out that he had kissed my wife. She never told me about it, but this is a small town.
I wasn’t worried that Sookie would cheat on me. I trusted her and suspected that the kiss was most likely like the one she’d had with Alcide before I got to L.A. Sookie was never aware of the way men viewed her. She could be so naïve. But just to make sure she knew where she belonged, I bought her the biggest diamond that I thought I could get away with and put it on her finger. I wanted her to know that I loved her and wanted her. And I wanted Sam Merlotte to see a rock on her finger that even he couldn’t afford. Okay, maybe I’m a caveman, but that’s what I did.
So, when we moved into the house in Brentwood, I gently nudged Sookie to change careers. After some discussion and an odd temporary foray into weight-loss obsession, she decided her new job was to make a baby, and she took it very seriously. It’s funny, but since we started trying to get pregnant, our sex life has completely disintegrated. I thought making a baby would mean having lots of sex, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. It meant willing my morning wood away while Sookie peed on a stick and popped it into her fertility monitor. There was no ejaculating three days prior to ovulation day—something about making my swimmers stronger. There was no sex for two weeks after ovulation day. The books said we could, but a female orgasm may trigger early miscarriage, so orgasms were off the table for Sookie at first, and then it just felt too selfish to even ask to have one of my own, so I accepted two weeks of celibacy. Then her period would start, and heaven forbid that the housekeeper would see blood on the sheets—so, sex was out for those days as well. Sometimes there were a few days just after her period when we could make love just for the pleasure of it, but then we began to approach that three-day ban just before ovulation day again.
You’d think that I would look forward to ovulation day, but sadly, that became one of my least favorite days. There were a few days in which we had to have as much sex as possible around ovulation day, and it seemed to always happen right when I would be in the middle of some important meetings, or, god forbid, when I was out of town. Even when I was home, it felt like we needed to hurry because a housekeeper or cook or gardener was in the house or just outside the window. And the only purpose to our efforts was to produce sperm. As soon as I’d come, I’d pull out and put a pillow under Sookie’s butt to keep her hips elevated for ten or fifteen minutes. Afterplay was a thing of the past. It really couldn’t have been less romantic.
So, in spite of the fact that on paper we were trying to have a baby, we had actually had less sex in the past year and half than any other time in our relationship. I wasn’t too happy about it, but I wanted Sookie to be happy, and I knew how much she wanted to have a baby. I kept thinking that some day we could get back to the level of intimacy we’d enjoyed before, but a nagging voice in the back of my head reminded me that the real loss of privacy and romance would begin when the baby actually arrived. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t torn about the whole issue. I wanted Sookie to be happy. I kept telling myself that. But secretly, a part of me hoped that we didn’t have any children. I was happy with Sookie and my work and wasn’t sure if I wanted more.
Maybe it was because of the whole Arlene thing, I don’t know. I couldn’t even say I was ambivalent about being a father when I first thought I was one. I honestly didn’t want to be one. Maybe some of those feelings were left over. I never talked to Sookie about it because I felt so guilty and selfish whenever I thought about it.
I picked up the phone to check on Sookie. She was home and having cramps, but the procedure went fine apparently. She would learn the results at her next doctor’s appointment. I told her not to wait for me to eat dinner since I had a couple of late meetings. It wouldn’t really matter when I got home anyway. No sperm was needed on this day.
I went back to work and immersed myself in the film, trying not to think too much about the state of the rest of my life.