Runway: Chapter 10
A/N: I just have to share with you that I got to meet Charlaine Harris tonight. tvgirl. nicole and I stood in line for four hours to meet her and get our books signed. When I told her that Nicole and I met on a fansite, she said she was so happy to have had a hand in new friends meeting. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy because I have “met” so many new friends here and am so very grateful for our little family. And I’m also grateful to Charlaine Harris for creating these wonderful characters that we love to play with.
The alarm woke me even though it was in the kitchen. Sookie and I hadn’t moved at all, and I carefully slid out from under her, wanting to get to the alarm clock before it disturbed her. I turned it off and peeked back into the bedroom. Sookie was curled up in a little ball under the covers, her hair spread out onto the pillow behind her.
I went into the bathroom and showered and shaved. I dressed quietly (Sookie never stirred.), leaving my robe at the foot of the bed for her, and went into the kitchen to grab something to eat. While I was waiting for the coffee to brew, I wrote a note for Sookie with my cell number on it.
After I’d eaten some toast and had my coffee, I washed my dishes and set an empty cup out on the counter for Sookie. I went back into the bedroom and crouched beside the bed and watched her sleeping for a minute. She was completely out, so I just gently kissed her forehead and left for work.
We were shooting a catalog for Neiman Marcus. There were seven of us scheduled for Thursday and I was in the first three shots. I hoped I’d get a break before lunch to call Sookie, but that didn’t happen. As soon as lunch was delivered, I changed back into my clothes and took my cell phone out into the hallway for some privacy.
It was a little after noon, and I wondered if she was still in my apartment. When the machine picked up, I left a message. “Hi, it’s Eric. Are you there? The phone’s on the desk in the bedroom. Can you pick up?” I waited a beat. “Well, I’m on a break here. Just wanted to check on you. Call me back when you can. I left my cell number on the note in the kitchen. I’m hoping to wrap up here around three. I…um…I’m looking forward to seeing you…very soon, I hope. It was tough to leave you this morning. Call me.”
I ate lunch and wasn’t in the first shot after lunch, so I tried calling again, but still got the machine. “It’s just me again. I’ll call when I’m on my way home. Hope you’re okay.”
The afternoon dragged. I was tired and we got behind schedule. I was finally released at 3:40 and I went out on the street to catch a cab. I debated for a second about running into a store—a Gap or something maybe—and just grabbing some clothes for Sookie in case she was imprisoned in my apartment with nothing to wear back to the hotel.
I quickly dismissed the idea, though, wanting to get home to her as quickly as possible. We could work out the clothes thing when I got there. I left another message from the cab. She still didn’t pick up the phone.
I unlocked the door and called out her name, but didn’t get a response. A quick scan of the apartment confirmed that she’d left. There was no sign of a note—only the one I’d left for her in the kitchen. I called information and then was connected to The Waldorf and asked for Sookie Stackhouse.
“I’m sorry, but we don’t have a guest by that name.”
“She was in room 420 last night. Maybe she changed rooms because of the fire.”
“No, sir. She’s not in room 420. She checked out this morning.”
“Really? Okay. Did she leave a number…maybe a message for Eric Northman?”
I was puzzled. I hadn’t expected her to have checked out of the hotel.
I went into the bathroom and saw her nightgown hanging from the shower rod and thought, well, that’s a good sign. Maybe she’s on her way back here. Even though a part of me hoped she’d decided to just spend the rest of her trip staying with me, my gut told me it was unlikely she’d just assume she could without talking to me about it first.
I was completely frustrated, but there was nothing I could do. I waited for her call and it never came. I didn’t want to leave the apartment in case she came back. Eventually, I ate some dinner and watched TV until I couldn’t stay awake any longer. I wasn’t sure if I should be pissed or worried, so I vacillated between the two until I finally called it a day and fell asleep.
When we broke for lunch on Friday, it was noon. I called Merlotte’s and left a message for Sookie to call me. I had no clue where she was, but thought that maybe she’d check in for messages at work at the very least. When I was released at 5, I called again and left another message.
At 8:00, I called one last time.
“This is Eric Northman again. Do you know if Sookie’s back from New York?”
“No, she’s not. Did you want to talk to Sam?”
“No, thanks. Just tell her I called again.”
I did not want to call Pam and ask her for Sookie’s number. The last thing I needed was for my sister to stick her nose in this.
I felt like shit all weekend. Apparently, I had been used like a tool by Sookie Stackhouse and then dropped like a burnt match. I kept going over that night with Sookie in my head, and I just couldn’t make any sense of why she would disappear like that and not call me. The only explanation was that maybe she was just a bitch.
But then that didn’t make sense either. Pam loved her like a sister. I thought I was a fairly good judge of character, and even though I hadn’t known her for long, she really seemed like a great girl—not like a cold-hearted bitch.
By Monday night, I was back to worrying that something had happened to her. I finally broke down on Tuesday and called Pam.
I started the conversation with our usual topics and finally just casually asked, “So, what’s going on with Sookie? Have you talked to her lately?”
“Yeah, I saw her last night.”
So she was back in L.A. at least and hadn’t been kidnapped by aliens.
“So, how’s she doing?”
“Fine. You know, Eric, you really need to meet her—like soon. I’m telling you—the two of you would be so great together. I know I sound like a broken record but…”
“I did meet her.”
That stopped her. There was a beat of silence.
“After the Calvin Klein show last weekend.”
“Oh. And, so what did you think?”
“She’s great.” Or maybe the coldest bitch in the universe.
“Well, then get your ass back here and go after her. I think she’s seeing this idiot guy again that she dated once before, but I’m sure after one night with you, she’ll forget his name. I can’t ever remember it myself. He’s a complete goober.”
“She’s got a fucking boyfriend?” I couldn’t believe it, but then maybe that explained why she’d disappeared on me.
“Since when do you let something like that stop you? You’re Eric Northman.”
“Fuck, Pam. You don’t go pushing some girl on me for fucking years and then just casually mention that she’s not available. What the fuck?”
“Jesus, Eric. She’s not married. Just ask her out. I’m sure she’ll be crazy about you—blind to other men. What is going on with you?”
“Maybe you need to just stay the fuck out of my love life.”
“What love life? Boning an occasional bimbo is not a love life. Sookie is someone special. You said yourself she’s great.”
“Well, maybe I was wrong. Maybe she’s just a bitch.”
“And maybe you’re just an asshole.”
“Fine. I gotta go.”
I hung up before Pam had a chance to say anything else. Sookie had a boyfriend. She’d chosen a “complete goober” over me. Pam said after one night with me, Sookie would be blind to other men. Little did she know that Sookie did have a night with me, and apparently, it sent her right back into the arms of goober boy. Fuck.
I’d finally felt something—something real for someone, and she was with someone else.
Pam was right—as usual. My love life was ridiculous. I couldn’t remember the last time I really cared about a woman. There were always plenty of girls to date or to fuck whenever I had the need, but it all meant nothing in the end.
I finally found someone who meant something special to me—someone I really wanted to get to know, and I couldn’t have her. I was pissed, and even worse than pissed, I was hurt.