Runway: Chapter 12
Sookie and I kissed for a long moment on the sofa. Then she broke the kiss and just pressed her face into my chest while I held her.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“Yeah. I think I’m in shock a little.”
I laughed. “Yeah, me too. I’m so sorry I did this all wrong. I never should have kissed you in the theater. And I should have stayed on my couch in New York and minded my own business.”
She sat back and looked up at me. “You regret that?”
“No, no at all. Are you kidding me? No. I regret that I obviously freaked you out. I just…I don’t know…lost it. I was just so…. Anyway, I’m sorry.”
“So, do you make it a habit of running away when things get a little complicated in relationships? I’ve seen you do it twice now.”
“I have no idea. Apparently.”
“Please don’t do it again. It doesn’t feel good to the person you’re running away from.”
“I’m sorry, Eric. I was just so embarrassed.”
“Don’t be. There’s something very powerful between us. Neither one of us seems to remember the general rules of social conduct when we’re together. I think it’s a good thing. A very good thing.”
Sookie’s cheeks flushed. God, she looked adorable.
She asked, “Why did you kiss me in the theater? I mean, it was amazing, but…well…do you do that a lot?”
“No.” I laughed again. “No, I guess I’d had sort of a thing for you for a long time. Okay, not sort of. I had a thing for you. I’d heard so much about you from Pam and seen your picture. And there was just such an attraction. I know it was rude. I really don’t ever act like that. Seriously. I wanted to ask you out, but you ran away.”
“Yeah. I did. I’m sorry.”
She picked up my empty coffee cup and walked into her kitchen, asking, “Do you want something else to drink?”
“No, I should probably go.”
She didn’t answer, so I assumed she agreed.
I went on, “So, if you’re not going to Santa Barbara tomorrow, would you like to have lunch? Go to an open house? I’d love for you to see this house.”
“Yeah, that would be great. I guess I need to call Quinn in the morning. It’s getting kind of late–probably too late to call tonight.” She went to her closet and opened the doors. There was a little chest of drawers in there and she opened one of the drawers and pulled out my t-shirt, sweat pants, and socks. “Here you go.” She handed them to me and went to get her purse from the kitchen table. She came right back with a twenty-dollar bill and held it out to me.
“What’s this for?”
“I borrowed it for cab fare back to The Waldorf.”
I took it from her and set it on the end table beside the couch. Before she could object, I stood and gave her a kiss. At first it was just a soft kiss on the lips. Of course, she responded with this little sound—kind of like a little moan, and I dropped the clothes I was holding onto the sofa and took her in my arms. Within seconds, our tongues were battling and our bodies were pressing together and we were sharing the same passion that had overwhelmed us on the two other occasions we’d seen each other.
I finally pulled away from her. “Okay, I’m gonna go.”
“Right. Good night.” Neither of us made any attempt to separate and we just went right back to kissing. That went on for a long moment again until I finally stopped it again.
“Okay. I’ll see you tomorrow then,” I said, breathing a little heavily.
“Okay.” Then we were back to the kissing again.
I stopped again. “Okay, this is silly. I don’t want to leave.”
“Oh, good.” She sat back down onto the sofa.
“But, I really should.” I sat beside her and we launched into each other’s arms, kissing wildly again. I pushed her back onto the sofa and within minutes, we were lying across the sofa, our hands rubbing all over each other, making out like a couple of teenagers.
She broke the kiss and said, “Oh my god, you do have to go. I mean, you can’t stay.”
“Why not?” Suddenly, I never wanted to leave.
She pressed her lips together and looked like a little girl who’d been caught stealing candy.
“What it is, Sookie?”
She whispered, “I don’t have any condoms.”
I grinned. “Okay, so the decision’s made then. I’m gonna go.”
She scooted back on the sofa and sat up a little. I rested my head on her chest which was heaving gently. I closed my eyes and listened to her heartbeat while I tried to slow my breathing down a bit.
We lay together like that for a minute. Sookie stroked my hair. I raised my head and looked at her and said, “I still want to stay.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. I’m leaving on Sunday. I want to spend as much time as I can with you. I promise I’ll behave. I’ll wear these.” I pulled my sweats out from under her shoulder and she smiled.
“Okay.” Then she got more serious. “I don’t want you to leave either.”
I gave her a quick kiss and stood with my sweat pants to go into the bathroom. When I came out, Sookie had opened her sofa bed and was placing pillows on it. I set my clothes on the chair where she’d already put my t-shirt and socks and I put my shoes on the floor beside it. I set my wallet, keys, phone and watch on the end table beside the sofa.
“Do you have an extra toothbrush?” I asked.
I followed Sookie back into the bathroom and she produced a new toothbrush from the medicine cabinet and handed me the toothpaste. She left me alone while I brushed my teeth, and when I came out, she was waiting for the bathroom with a pink cotton night gown in her hand.
While Sookie was in the bathroom, I got into bed and texted Pam: I’m staying at Sookie’s. We’re going to the open house at 2. Come by if you want to see it again.
I pictured her doing a little celebration dance when she read the first part. She was probably the third happiest person about the turn of events of the evening.
When Sookie came out of the bathroom, she had on the long pink gown and looked even more beautiful. I watched her put her clothes away and close the closet door. Then she turned out the lights and climbed into bed beside me.
I was on my back and she snuggled up to me, resting her head on my chest and taking my hand in hers.
“So, where did you go when you checked out of the Waldorf?” I asked into the dark.
“Oh, um…I just went right to the airport and came home.”
“Really? I thought maybe you went to stay with someone else in New York. The agency said you were still in New York when I called the next day.”
“I didn’t tell anyone I came back. I didn’t want to have to explain myself to anyone. It probably sounds silly to you, but that was a really big deal to me. I’ve never done anything even remotely like that with anyone. I was very upset with myself.”
“It doesn’t sound silly at all. I’m just sorry we didn’t have a chance to talk about it. And I’m sorry you felt bad about it. I really didn’t intend for that to happen.”
She gave my chest a little kiss in response.
I continued, “Why don’t we go out tomorrow night to a nice dinner somewhere. You know, on a real date.”
“That sounds great.”
“I want you to feel good about us, and I’ve already really blown that twice. I hope you’ll give me a chance to make things right.”
Sookie lifted her head and looked at me. It was dark, but I could see the emotion in her eyes. She kissed me gently on the lips and I squeezed her hand. She rolled onto her back and I took her in my arms and kissed her softly, slowly, reverently. This time, it wasn’t the frenzied passion we’d shared earlier, but a sweet and gentle exploration of our lips, tongues, bodies.
I knew there’d be no sex, and so that pressure was off of both of us. We took our time and just kissed for a long, luxurious time.
When we stopped, she turned away from me and I curled up behind her and held her. We talked some more—about our favorite music, places we’d like to see, how we liked to spend our spare time. I was surprised how much we had in common and kept thinking how right Pam was about our being such a good match.