Universal: Chapter 14
I was grateful to be home and able to sleep in my own bed, finally. I was so wiped out from the trip back to L.A. that I fell asleep without eating dinner and didn’t wake until the middle of the night, needing Tylenol, of course. I felt bad that I hadn’t called Sookie before going to sleep and I missed her. My bed felt great, but it was awfully empty.
I called her when I woke up the next morning and told her I’d missed her all night. I hated to keep harping on it, but I was anxious for her to tell her pimp that she was quitting the business and ending their warped-and-probably-really-disgusting relationship. I hated to think about it and just wanted it over.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to bring it up again because she did.
“I ended things with Sam last night, so now that’s over.”
“I’m so glad,” I said. I hated the thought that she was in the same room with him even, but I kept it to myself. The important thing was that she’d ended it. “So, when can I see you? Do you have to work at the restaurant tonight?”
“Yeah, I do. I’m sorry, Eric, but I need the money. I’m on the schedule for the next three nights, but then I’m off on Monday.”
“Okay, then let’s plan on going out Monday night. Hopefully, I’ll be a lot better and we can have a real date. At least go somewhere nice for dinner. How does that sound?”
“That sounds great.”
For the next three days, I was still pretty weak and worthless. I was frustrated that I was taking so long to heal, but from what I’d read, the recovery for my surgery was still much quicker than if I hadn’t had the laparoscopic surgery. I was just used to feeling strong and very tired of feeling pain.
But I had a lot to look forward to, and that was a good thing. I didn’t dwell on the loss of the Vegas job, but focused on a future with Sookie and was grateful that I still had my regular clients. And that my health crisis was resolvable and not more serious.
Sookie and I talked on the phone every day and sent texts back and forth, but I was really looking forward to seeing her. I knew it was unlikely I could have sex yet—or if I could, I suspected it wouldn’t be very good in my condition. At least not for her, and that was what mattered. But just to be able to hold her and kiss her would be great. I missed her so much.
Monday night finally arrived. I was able to find some decent pants that I could wear that didn’t bother my incisions, so at least I wasn’t in sweatpants for our date.
When Sookie opened her door, she took my breath away in a white dress with red flowers on it.
She gave me a little tour of her apartment. It was small, but at least it did have a bedroom that was separate from the main room plus a small kitchen and bathroom. She had it decorated with colorful quilts and floral patterned fabrics. It was very feminine and pretty, and again, I wondered how in the world this girl ever got mixed up in prostitution. She sure didn’t fit the mold.
When the tour was over, she offered me something to drink. I was a little thirsty, and so she went into the kitchen to pour me a glass of water. I followed her in and suddenly was no longer able to keep my hands to myself. As soon as she took the glass from the cabinet and set it on the counter, I kissed her.
She seemed as surprised as I was, but responded with open lips and a curious tongue. I pressed her against the kitchen counter and memories of sink day came back to me, and back to my nether regions as well. Pain or no pain, I pressed into her and she wrapped a leg around mine. I reached beneath the hem of her dress and cupped her ass that was covered in soft silky fabric. She moaned into my mouth and said my name and I wanted to take her into the bedroom and do my best to fuck her whether it hurt or not.
But then I thought, this woman is probably so used to men just fucking her—she deserves to be romanced. I didn’t want her to think I only wanted her for sex like all the other men she knew.
So I broke the kiss and removed my hand from her ass and whispered into her hair, “We should go, baby. Let’s go and have dinner, okay?”
Her eyes were kind of glazed over and she said, “Okay,” before taking a deep breath and exhaling.
“Forget the glass of water; let’s just go,” I said.
I took her by the hand and we went into the living room.
“Let me just grab my sweater and purse,” she said and stepped over to a table by the sofa and picked them up.
“I’m anxious to take you out and spoil you rotten,” I said. “You deserve it. From now on, you’ll be wined and dined properly.”
“Well, I’m looking forward to it,” she said with a smile.
She looked so sweet. I put my hand to her face and said, “Oh, sweetie, I just want to make you happy. I promise to never treat you like a whore.”
Sookie’s smile vanished and her eyes grew immediately vacant. Uh oh.
“Shit, I’m sorry,” I said quickly. She looked pissed. “I shouldn’t have used that word.”
“Um …no, you shouldn’t have.”
“It won’t happen again.” She just kept staring daggers at me, and I tried to move past the faux pas as soon as possible by saying, “Let’s just go eat, okay, sweetie?”
I took her hand again and pulled her towards the door, but suddenly, her feet wouldn’t budge and she dropped her purse and sweater on the coffee table.
“Have a seat, Eric. I think we need to talk about something.”
Well, that didn’t sound good. But what could I do? I sat down compliantly and she sat beside me, looking very grim.
“Sookie, I’m sorry,” I said. “Really, I am. That was rude.”
“Yes, it was, Eric. But, you know what, I’m glad you brought it up. This is something that’s been bothering me and I think we need to clear the air.”
I knew to tread carefully, as when we’d discussed this before, she was always uncomfortable and didn’t want to really talk about it. Frankly, neither did I. Of course, it would be a touchy subject between her and her new boyfriend—her past profession as a prostitute.
“I want to talk about it, Sookie, but bear with me, okay? It’s a tough subject. Honestly, I would imagine most men would find this difficult to accept in their new love interest.”
“Well, I wouldn’t know about that. I haven’t had much experience in being someone’s love interest.”
The poor girl—she’d probably only been mistreated by her johns and pimps and never had anything real.
“We’re going to work through this, Sookie. I know that in time, I’ll be better about accepting it.”
“You know what, Eric. Just stop right there.”
Well, that didn’t sound good.
She went on, “If this is something about me that you have a hard time accepting, then I think we have a problem.” She paused as if planning what she wanted to say. I waited. “I have a confession to make.”
“Okay.” I had no idea where this was going, but I didn’t like it.
“I know I said I was ashamed of myself, but you know what? I’ve been doing some serious thinking about it and now I’m not ashamed of it anymore. I liked it.”
I tried not to look shocked, but I definitely was.
She went on, “In fact, if we’re really being honest here, I loved it. Now, that might make me a big trashy whore in your eyes, but it’s the truth.”
“I don’t know what to say.” Of course it made her a big trashy whore in my eyes. She apparently was a big trashy whore—and one who loved it. I was disgusted.
“And you know what,” she continued, “What’s going to happen if I want to do it again? And I’m pretty sure I will. What will you think of me then?”
“God, don’t say that, Sookie.” I couldn’t be with her if she went back to being a prostitute.
“Well, it’s the truth, Eric. I’m only human. And if you really care about a person, then you should accept them for who they are—flaws and all.”
“I don’t know if I can accept this particular flaw, Sookie. It’s kind of a deal breaker.”
She looked sad and reached over and took my hand and said, “Then I guess the deal’s broken. Because this is who I really am. At my core. I don’t think it would be right for you to ask me to ignore that. And I think it would be wrong for me to suppress my natural impulses. It doesn’t feel right.”
“God, I can’t believe you’re saying this.” I was stunned.
She sighed and shook her head. “I guess I have a lot to learn, Eric. Honestly, I thought guys liked it.”
She just nodded sadly. “I know.”
I didn’t know what else to say. I was so completely shocked. I looked down at our hands intertwined and felt a lump in my throat. I had such high hopes for us. In spite of her past, I saw a future with Sookie and I realized at that moment that I was in love with her. I was in love with a woman I couldn’t be with. Because in spite of my feelings for her, there was just no way I could ever accept her being a prostitute. It would destroy me.
I dropped her hand and stood up and said, “That’s it then. I should go.”
“I’m so sorry,” she said and there were tears in her eyes.