Runway: Chapter 5
I woke to the aroma of coffee and couldn’t remember where I was for a brief instant. I stirred in the bed and my sore muscles brought back memories of seriously misbehaving with Eric mere hours earlier. I had been out of my mind and hardly recognized my actions as my own. I had begged him to have sex with me. Begged him.
I sincerely doubted if I was the first woman to beg for Eric’s sexual attentions, but it had certainly been a first for me. I had only slept with one guy and that was my boyfriend, Bill, in college. I liked sex, but I couldn’t even call what I’d done with Eric sex. It was so much…I don’t know…better. I’d had no idea it could feel that good. And I had no idea I could lose control like that. It scared me more than a little.
I got out of bed, pulled on the robe lying across the foot of it that hadn’t been there the night before, and shuffled into the living room in my one sock, but there was no sign of Eric. I used the bathroom and followed the scent of coffee into the kitchen. There was an empty cup on the counter beside the coffee maker and a note beside the cup.
It was hard to leave you this morning, but I have to be at a shoot at 9. I didn’t want to wake you.
Please make yourself at home. There’s food in the fridge, money in the top drawer of my desk, take-out menus in the drawer beside the fridge.
I’ll call you when I get a break. I should be finished around 3 or 4.
There was a phone number across the bottom of the page after the word “cell.”
I poured myself a cup of coffee and found the half and half in the refrigerator. I looked at the clock sitting on the counter: 9:20. I felt like I had a hangover even though I’d had nothing alcoholic to drink. I had a random-insanely-horny-sex-with-a-virtual-stranger hangover.
I fixed myself a bowl of cereal and sat on the sofa, suddenly ravenously hungry. I wondered if the hotel was all back in order. I thought of my open suitcase sitting on the luggage rack at the foot of the bed and wondered if I had a dry item of clothing to my name.
So much for my great New York vacation. I was embarrassed at my behavior with Eric. What must he think of me, I wondered. Would he think I did that sort of thing with other men? And was he in the habit of bringing women home and just banging them until they ran out of steam and keeled over? Probably.
I had no delusions that last night was anything but meaningless sex for someone like Eric Northman. He was a supermodel, for crying out loud. What was I doing here in his apartment? I should be at home in L.A. working on building runway clients and saving my money. I needed to come back down to earth—to the real world. No, I couldn’t un-do what I’d done the night before, but I could certainly promise myself never to repeat it.
I finished my cereal and coffee and washed my dishes in the sink. Then I made the bed and donned my lovely sweat pants and t-shirt outfit from the night before. (I’d found the pants under the covers near the foot of the bed.) I folded Eric’s discarded clothes and robe and left them on the bed.
I debated for a minute about taking the trench coat instead of my sweats and t-shirt. It might look slightly less clownish, but I knew Eric would most likely need the trench coat and could probably live without the other items. I found the other sock and pulled my boots on that Eric had set beside one of the chairs in the living room.
I sat at Eric’s desk in his bedroom and opened the top drawer. It felt awfully intrusive, but I couldn’t get back to the hotel without money. I found an envelope with lots of twenties and a few hundreds in it, and took out a twenty.
I thought of writing Eric a note. I wanted to thank him for taking care of me, for his hospitality, for getting me warm, but no matter how I worded it, it sounded dirty. Everything he’d done for me at the start of the night was overshadowed by the mindless humping and begging that took place later. I blushed just thinking about it sitting there by myself.
I finally opted to say nothing and to just leave and take what was left of my dignity with me.
When I got out into the hallway, I checked to make sure Eric’s door was locked after I’d closed it behind me. Of course, it was in that moment that I remembered I’d left my night gown hanging in the bathroom. Oh well. It was a pity—that was a favorite.
Once downstairs, I walked to Columbus Avenue and hailed a cab back to The Waldorf.
The hotel seemed to be back in perfect working order and I waited in line at the front desk, extremely uncomfortable in my unusual outfit, clutching the change from my twenty-dollar bill in my hand.
When it was my turn, I spoke to the woman behind the desk. “I’m Sookie Stackhouse, room 420. I spent the night with a friend after the…um…incident last night. Can I get back into my room? I don’t have a key.”
“Of course. Do you have any ID with you?”
“No, it’s in my purse in the room.”
“That’s fine. Please wait one moment.” She typed something into the keyboard in front of her and looked back up to me. “Of course, we’ll launder any of your clothes that got wet free of charge. Just let us know if there’s anything else you need.”
I stood there for a minute and the woman just smiled at me. I wondered what I was waiting for and then a man appeared beside me. He reached across the desk as the woman produced a key card and a sheet of paper she pulled from the printer beneath the desk.
“This is Mr. Dearborn with security. He’ll escort you to your room.”
Mr. Dearborn and I walked in silence to the elevator and then once on the fourth floor, down the hall to my room. When we got inside the room, I fished my wallet out of my still-damp purse and showed him my ID.
“Thank you, Ms. Stackhouse. Please let us know what we can do to make your stay more comfortable. We apologize for the inconvenience.”
I put my ID and money I’d had in my hand into my wallet, and handed Mr. Dearborn a five-dollar bill. I’d never stayed in a fancy hotel before and didn’t know if it was customary to tip security people.
He just looked at my extended hand. “That isn’t necessary, but thank you anyway.”
“Oh, okay.” I stuck it into my purse, embarrassed at my faux pas.
I walked Mr. Dearborn to the door, then went to the bed and sat down. The room appeared to be clean and dry. The bed was freshly made. I touched the carpet and it felt dry. I opened the suitcase at the foot of the bed and groaned. Everything in it was wet. I dug through it to the bottom and even the socks and panties underneath the clothes were damp. Yuck.
I opened the closet and there hung my only dry item of clothing—my peacoat. Suddenly, I was too overwhelmed to think about what to do. If I sent all my clothes to the hotel’s laundry, I’d be stuck in the room all day waiting for something to wear.
I was so tired and disappointed in my big New York vacation. All I wanted was for it to be over. I had embarrassed myself with Eric, had no clothes to wear, was too tired to think and before I knew it, the tears started. I lay back onto the bed and let it all out, feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in it like a big baby.