Disclaimer – I do not own SVM/TB characters or stories. No copyright infringement is intended and no profit is being made. I just want to play with the Viking!
I woke up when I felt the bed compress on the left side as someone lay down beside me. I was facing the wall, but I knew I was in my room. I had no idea what time it was because my curtains had been pulled tightly. I heard my mystery companion shift up onto one elbow, and felt the weight of his or her eyes stare. I was not completely awake, still slightly disoriented in the darkened room.
“Eric?” I mumbled.
I then felt light stroking on my hair. I sighed initially, but then my eyes snapped open and I stilled. A silent moment passed before I heard snickering that quickly turned into loud laughter ringing through the room. I scrunched up my face and internally rolled my eyes when I thought of what I had just said.
“Oh, yes Criiiicket…mmm…more…” JP purred, continuing to pet me before bursting into another belly laugh.
“Having fun, asshole?” I deadpanned.
“As a matter of fact, yes, I am. Are we dreaming again, Cricket? Did you wake up thinking you were in bed with the big, bad vampire? Is there something you’d like to tell me, another juicy dream perhaps? Should I be jealous?” he said barely able to contain his laughter.
I rolled over and scowled at him in the dark. My eyes had adjusted quickly with the light coming in through the partially closed door.
“Ugh! Get off me, you jackass!” I protested, swatting his hand away. “Just because you’ve hit a dry spell doesn’t mean I want you crawling in here and pawing me!” I sat up against the headboard, beginning to laugh myself when I found it impossible to shove him completely out of the bed.
“Obviously, I must have been dreaming because your scrawny ass could never be confused with that of my dream-vampire!” I chortled.
He sat up next to me looking hurt.
“Oh, say you don’t mean that! You’re gonna make me cry,” he whimpered with a pitiful look on his face.
“Oh shut up! What are you doing in here anyway?”
He laughed again before he became serious.
“I was checking on you. I didn’t want to bother you, but you’ve been sleeping pretty heavily all day, and I was starting to get concerned. How are you feeling? You were pretty out of it when you came home last night. Do you mind if open the curtains?” he asked while getting up.
“Please do,” I said and moved from under the covers. Sunlight filled the room.
“God, it’s bright! What time is it?”
“It’s just about one o’clock.”
“I slept all day?”
“Yeah, and you were already asleep this morning when you were carried in, I might add,” he said with a knowing smile.
“Why do you have that look on your face? Wait, this morning? What time did I come home?”
“The doorbell woke me. I don’t know if I heard it on the first ring, but I do know when I went downstairs it was four-thirty.”
“Oh man. The filming ended before ten,” I moaned
“Yes, I know. I was there. So, what exactly were you doing all night that left you so exhausted, might I ask?”
“I was…actually, I don’t know. I was sleeping mostly, I think.”
“Well, that was a waste.”
“What are you talking about?”
“A very tall, delicious Swedish man was standing on the porch with you in his arms when I answered the door. So, if you were only sleeping all night, then I would call that a waste,” he snickered.
I had stayed out all night? I had stayed out all night with him! What were we doing? Why didn’t he bring me home sooner? My mind was reeling trying to piece things together. I couldn’t believe he would have just sat with me all night, but that’s all I could remember.
“Not entirely,” I said, trying to think.
“Oh yes? What else did you do before sleeping…or after?” he asked, waggling his eyebrows.
“We talked and I must have fallen asleep in the middle of our conversation, but I know I woke up, and I remember talking more. I mean, I don’t really remember everything we talked about. It’s not very clear. Those painkillers were really strong.”
“Well, that’s not very interesting,” he said disappointed.
“Sorry. I was feeling pretty loopy most of the time.”
“Oh, I’ve seen you loopy. Did you get up and sing at the microphone like some stoned rock star?” He said as he came back to the bed and sat at the foot, smiling.
“I can’t imagine that happening, but I honestly couldn’t tell you for sure.”
“Did Opal make an appearance?” he snickered.
“Good God! I hope not!” I said, blushing.
“Why not? That would have been hilarious!”
“Yeah, well, the last thing I need to do is break my foot again, and hilarious is not the word I would use if that happened. Mortifying would be a better fit. I don’t even remember coming home.”
“You were sound asleep. Damn guurl, your arm looks pretty bad. Does it hurt very much?”
I looked down at my arm when he mentioned it. I hadn’t thought about it yet. It was pretty ugly. The stripes had grown to a dark purple angry color surrounded by pink and green. It would take a while to fade and it would only look worse until it finally did. It didn’t hurt as badly as when it was being held in a vice grip last night, but it was sore when I touched it.
“Do you think they’ll be able to cover it with make-up?”
“I’m sure they can. If they can cover large tattoos, I’m sure they can cover some bruising,” he replied.
“Are we shooting tonight? I wouldn’t be surprised if I was cut from the scene again entirely, especially after tearing that beautiful dress. I don’t even want to face Maria-Star,” I sighed.
It was that moment that I realized I was in my pajamas. What happened to the dress? I didn’t really want to know, but I had to ask.
“Hey, what happened after I got home? Did he say anything about…well, anything?”
“Not really. Your new friend was carrying you, of course, so I held the door open. I asked him to bring you in, given that I had no intention of carrying your fat ass up the stairs! I led him up here to your room. He was very quiet and we didn’t talk other than to greet each other in whispers. I asked if you were OK and he more or less nodded. He was able to pull your medicine bottle out of his pocket somehow, and handed it to me while you were clutched onto him. I’m not sure how he could even move his arms, let alone drive you here. He even managed to grab your bag and brought it with you, hung over his shoulder. It’s over by the dresser. You didn’t seem to want to let go of him when he tried to lay you down on the bed either, so he lay down with you. You both seemed content with that arrangement. It seemed a little intimate and you looked very cozy, so I grabbed your pajamas and tossed them over onto the end of the bed. He nodded at me before I left the room. I can only assume he undressed and redressed you. I doubt you could have done it on your own. I went back to bed, so I don’t know what else happened. I’m surprised he didn’t stay,” he said casually.
I stared at him in horror. With every sentence uttered, my mouth and eyes opened wider, and I know I was a flaming shade of red. I was at a loss for words. In fact, only one came screeching out of my mouth.
He spoke slowly as if explaining something difficult to a small child.
“I said I left you in here with him and went back to bed. He took off your clothes, and apparently dressed you in your pajamas.”
“Why would you do that?! OH MY GOD, JP?!?! What is wrong with you?!” I was nearly hysterical.
“What? You were alone with him all night. What difference did another hour make?” he said nonchalantly while examining his nails as if this happened every night.
“He saw me naked! What were you thinking? Haven’t I been humiliated enough around him? God only knows what I said or did last night in front of him before we got here! Then you leave me in here alone with him while he takes off my clothes?”
That’s when he started laughing like a crazed, howling hyena. At least one of us was having a good time. He was laughing so hard he could barely speak.
“You should see the look on your face!” he said, gasping for air between each word.
“This isn’t funny, JP! I can’t…I don’t even…I could die…maybe I should just kill you?!” I was freaking out.
“Do you seriously think I would’ve done that? You are so gullible, Cricket! Of course that didn’t happen!” he said between gasps and guffaws. I was confused for a split second until I registered what he had said. It took me a moment.
“Oh My God! You are such a dick!” I shouted, leaning forward and shoving him in the chest, relief washing over me.
“You love me and you know it!” He continued laughing, but he was finally able to breathe again.
“Right now, that love is mixed with hate! So, what actually happened, smartass?” I sniped and he laughed again.
“Everything I said up until the point of him laying you on the bed. You did cling to him, and I had to help him pry you loose from his neck. After that, he went downstairs and waited by the door while I changed your clothes. I took the dress downstairs with me and he took it with him. Before he left, I asked how you really were. He said he thought you would be fine, and you should call Claudette today if you weren’t feeling up to filming. It’s still planned for tonight unless you call. He did tell me that the pills you took hit you pretty hard and that you might not remember much of the evening. If you need them again for pain, his recommendation was to only take one or maybe even one half of one.”
“Not quite. He also said, and I quote, ‘Please relay to your friend that I had a lovely time and I enjoyed her performance immensely. Tell her next time we will try it while she is fully awake.’ Then he winked at me before walking out the door. What did he mean by that?”
“I have no idea.”
“Well, whatever it was, he liked it. He had a huge smile on his face when he said it,” he replied with his own wide grin.
“Stop it! I probably sang something ridiculous like ‘Old MacDonald’,” I said, putting my head in my hands.
“With an oink, oink here, and an oink…” I shoved him again.
“Shut the hell up! You’ve seen me like that. I can’t imagine what stupid things I must have said or done.”
“Or sang,” he chimed in.
“Yes, or sang! Now I don’t want to face Maria-Star or Him!”
“Ooh, maybe it wasn’t singing that you ‘performed’ for him?”
“SHUT UP!” I turned bright red at the implication.
“Oh stop it! It was cute. The two of you were cute together! You had a death grip on him, and he seemed perfectly content carrying you around and taking care of you.”
“He did? I do remember he was being awfully nice and seemed concerned. I think I told him as much. He even carried me over to the throne because the chair I was sitting in was very uncomfortable.”
“Oh? So you had him carrying you around all night, Princess?”
“Whatever! Shut it! Why didn’t you come back? You could’ve carried me. It wouldn’t be the first time.”
“I guess I didn’t think about it. You were being taken care of and someone said I should go change, so I did,” he shrugged.
“I just wish I could remember everything.”
“It will come back to you. You just woke up, after all.”
“Hopefully. So, how was the rest of your night? I saw you made a new friend and heard you left with him as well,” I said with a sly smile of my own.
“Me? Hmm, let’s just say that it might be starting to sprinkle.”
“Meaning, my dry spell might not be so dry in the future. That’s all I’m saying,” he blushed.
“You and he…oh really? That’s all I’m going to get?”
“There’s not much to tell. There was definitely some flirting going on. He’s funny and charming, and you have to admit, sexy as hell!”
“No arguments there. What did you guys do?”
“We went down the street to the bar and grill on the next block and hung out.”
“Did you have fun? What did you do afterward?”
“I did have fun, but I must have been pretty tired myself or had one too many. I don’t recall anything specific happening afterward. I think just came home and went to bed.”
“Did you want something to happen?”
“Well, I wouldn’t kick him out of bed,” he winked.
“OK, but be serious, JP, who would you kick out of bed?” I laughed.
“Hey! I’m not a tramp!” he said and stuck his tongue out at me.
“You’re the harlot!”
“Listen, missy, you were the one who woke up thinking there was a Viking vampire in your bed!” he reminded.
“You were the one who was petting me like a cat!” I countered.
“OK, so we agree, we’re both floozies!?”
We stopped and looked at each other before bursting into laughter, and then I remembered something.
“Hey, did you find Pam?”
“Yeah, she was over at the benches like he said,” he replied.
“I went over and sat down next to her. I told her that you were concerned for her and felt bad that you had yelled at her. I also made sure to tell her that you sent me to make sure she was OK.”
“What did she say?”
“She said it was OK. Even though you tripped, she understood how you could have misinterpreted the situation, and she wasn’t upset with you about it. She was frustrated at the situation, which was why she left. She felt by staying there she was making it worse. She really seemed concerned that she hurt you. She also wanted me to tell you that she forgives you for yelling at her. If the situation was reversed, she probably would have behaved the same way.”
“She said that and you believed her?”
“Why wouldn’t I? I’m not blind. I could tell she really did feel bad about it. She looked like she’d been crying. Why? You don’t believe her?”
“I don’t know. I mean, I remember what happened or I think I do. Well, I thought so, about that part at least. I know I screamed at her and I shouldn’t have, but I don’t know if I can believe…I don’t know what to believe. I’ll talk to her the next time I see her and apologize myself.”
“I’m sure she would appreciate it. She seemed really concerned for you.”
“It’s just…she’s been so mean to me since we met, and I thought…I thought she did it on purpose, but I can’t imagine anyone would do that…”
“She didn’t, Cricket! Think about what you’re saying! Why would she try to hurt you intentionally?!”
I was stunned. One minute we were playing, and then out of nowhere he’s yelling and angry with me for voicing my opinion. What had I said that was so out of line?
“Calm down, JP! I’m not saying she did! Jesus! Why are you defending her? Last night you didn’t even want to go find her!”
He took a deep breath and began speaking in a controlled voice. It was as if he was reciting a prepared speech.
“That’s before I talked to her. It seems I had it wrong. I was too far away to really see what happened. If you had seen her and spoken to her last night, you would know that she felt horrible. The fact that everyone was blaming her for what you did was very upsetting to her.”
“What I did? You mean falling and hurting myself?! Ruining the entire shoot and the remainder of everyone’s night?! Oh, how taxing that must have been for her!” I was not so controlled with my words.
He turned abruptly from me and stood. Then he looked down at me.
“God, it is all about you, isn’t it? I didn’t see it before, but she was right!”
After staring at me for a minute he rolled his eyes and walked out the door. I was having none of that! I followed right behind him, shouting to his back as he walked into the living room.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean!? What did she say to you?”
“Poor Cricket, everyone’s out to get her! Did you even stop to think that she couldn’t even go back in to apologize because you needed to be comforted by her friend who should have been apologizing for blaming her and comforting her! No, you didn’t even think that you might have hurt someone else’s feelings!”
“Yes I did! I asked you to make sure she was OK! I could barely walk!”
How did this become my fault?
“Well, you seem to be getting around just fine now, don’t you? How badly were you really hurt, Cricket? It looks to me like you’ve recovered quite well the way you’re stomping around. So, was it as awful as you made it out to be or were you just pretending so you could get close to him? Is that why you sent everyone away?”
What the fuck?
“I didn’t send anyone away. I mean I asked you to…wait! What is wrong with you all of a sudden? Where is this coming from? Two minutes ago you were joking with me and asking about what happened with the tall Swede. You were concerned and now you are acting like…I don’t know…like I just killed her fucking cat and fed it to her! Things were fine until I mentioned Pam.”
“That’s another thing! Her name is not Pam! She’s an actress for God’s sake! You know what? Do what you want. Think what you want. I’m done talking about this with you.”
With that, he stormed out of the room. Sadly for him, I wasn’t done and I followed him into the hall.
“Stop walking away from me! They told us to call them by their character names, it’s how they work! I have no idea why you are so pissed off. I’m so sorry if I had a shred of doubt about your new bff. You always seem to find a way to explain away her bad behavior.”
“That is because you are always twisting things around to blame her and make her look like some evil harpy! She hasn’t done anything to you, Cricket! You are seeing what you want to see. She is a perfectly lovely person who is sweet, kind, and friendly. You only need to get to know her. You’re trying to make her out to be the bad guy and for what? Stop trying to make her your enemy!”
I was shocked at how quickly this had erupted. I was literally stupefied into silence for a moment and stood there staring at him with my mouth agape. JP, on the other hand, was not.
“You know, it’s funny, she said she thinks you are trying to drive a wedge in their friendship, but I told her she was crazy to think that. Now, I’m not so sure. How far would you go? I know how obsessed you are with him,” he said sarcastically.
“JP, listen to yourself! You know I would never try to do that! Not to anyone! You know everything about me. I don’t know why she doesn’t like me, but I don’t want to be her enemy. She’s the one who…”
“Humph. There you go again.”
“God, it’s like she’s hypnotized you or some…”
Wait! Hypnotized? I did sing! I sang ‘Hypnotizing’ to him. What else had I done? All of a sudden I didn’t care about our fight anymore. I had no idea why he was being so irrational, but it didn’t matter at that moment.
He had brought something to my attention. My ass wasn’t hurting at all. I stopped in mid-sentence, turned around and headed for the bathroom.
“Oh! Who’s walking away from who now?” he called after me.
I didn’t stop walking and I didn’t respond. I was focused on something else entirely.
I entered the bathroom in a daze. I walked over to the mirror and pulled down my pants in the back enough to show where the bruise had been forming last night, and then lifted up my shirt. I turned around trying to see behind me. After some maneuvering with a hand mirror to reflect in the large mirror, I could see my lower back. It wasn’t bruised. There was nothing there but a small, barely visible, pink spot. I touched it and it wasn’t even tender.
“JP! Come here!” I called.
He entered still with a frown on his face and stood with his hands on his hips in the doorway.
“What?” he said abruptly. I dropped my shirt and looked him in the eyes. I stepped over and put my hand on his chest.
“I’m sorry for offending you. I don’t want to fight with you. I’m sorry for thinking badly of your friend. You’re right. I’m not being fair and I’ll try to get to know her,” I said calmly.
“Yes, really. Can we be done with this now? I hate when we argue,” I said sincerely.
I still wasn’t over it, but the whole discussion was stupid and pointless. It certainly wasn’t worth fighting over with my best friend. She isn’t worth fighting over! I knew what she was about, even if he couldn’t see it, but I refused to let her come between us and our friendship by filling his head with a bunch of lies about me. If I had to pretend with him, so be it. He would eventually see her for who she was and what she was doing.
We had been best friends for years. Who does she think she is? Then I thought, maybe he was right? Maybe this really was how she felt about me getting to know Eric? Then again, it’s not as if I had gone out of my way to spend time with him. He approached me both times, and both times it had been her doing, at least in part.
He was concerned. He was compassionate.
If she knew him so well, why didn’t she know that about him? Why didn’t she see that he was sweet and generous? Was he not always that way? Was he not that way with her? Was he not like that with anyone else? I found that hard to believe. People may keep part of themselves hidden, but he couldn’t keep that much of his personality hidden from a good friend. Could he?
Granted, he did seem stoic and aloof around others with whom I had seen him interact. When I thought about it, I realized I hadn’t really seen him interact with many people at all. There was the director who followed what he said, or seemingly did. The others kept their distance and showed him respect. He always dominated everything and everyone in the room somehow. Was that intentional?
Then there was Pam. She seemed to try to continually push him as if she were testing her boundaries. It reminded me of a young child trying to see how much they could get away with in front of their parents or behind their backs, and still not get into trouble. Is that how their friendship worked? Was he that fickle that she felt she had to stay on his good side to remain friends? No. I couldn’t believe that. He wasn’t like that at all with me. Maybe she was just insecure? That had to be it.
I was brought out of my internal musings when JP spoke quietly.
“I hate it, too. I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me. You are my best friend, and I do know you would never try to come between their or anyone else’s relationship. Forgive me?”
“Of course, you silly bitch! What about you?”
“If I have to,” he sighed.
“Oh yes, you are so put upon!” I laughed.
We hugged and I felt a thousand times better. Just like that, our fight was over.
“Thanks, I needed that hug. So, why did you call me in here?”
“Oh, right! OK, bear with me for a minute? I really did fall hard last night and I truly was hurt. The medics even said they thought I cracked my tailbone and that I should get an x-ray…”
“Oh Cricket?! Why didn’t you say something? I’ll call your doctor right now!” he said quickly.
“No, wait! That’s what I’m trying to tell you. Right now, I feel fine. I mean, I feel great. Except for my arm, but last night my ass hurt much worse than my arm and I had to sit on an icepack, well that and Eric’s lap,” I blushed, “They said a large bruise was starting to show, but look at this!”
I turned around, lifted my shirt, and pushed down my pajama pants enough to show him where it had been hurting last night.
“I don’t see anything.”
“Exactly! There isn’t anything to see. No bruise, nothing, and I feel fine. Last night, I could barely stand without shooting pains coming up my back. Now, I feel like I could go jogging.”
“What’s that?” he asked, touching the same place I had where it was pink. “It doesn’t look like a bruise.”
“I don’t think it is because it doesn’t hurt.”
He grabbed a white washcloth, wet it, and handed it to me. I wiped it across the mark. When I looked at the cloth, it was very faintly pink, and my back was clean. What the hell? He looked at it too, and then he looked more closely at my back again.
“What is that on the cloth?”
“I don’t know. The medics didn’t say anything about a cut, even a tiny one.”
“Then what do you think?”
“I think I feel well enough to go to the filming tonight.”
“Yeah, well we’ll see about that.”
We left early since I didn’t know if I would be able to wear the same dress, or if we would need to start over. I was dreading every minute of the short drive to the school. Preparing to see Maria-Starr was more nerve-wracking than I thought. I did not want to face her with what I had done to her dress, and I was not looking forward to facing the room of people who had been gawking at me last night. What they must think of me after the last few nights!
JP reminded me that we were in this together and they could all ‘fuck off!’ If they had a problem with me, they could deal with him! I smiled at his words. I love JP more than anything, but, despite the fact that he is six foot three inches, he’s about as intimidating as a butterfly. Of course, I would never tell him that.
To my surprise, and his, when we entered the doorway no one even bothered to look twice at us other than to wave or give a cheerful hello. It was refreshing. It was calming. It was weird. It was as if nothing at all happened the night before. They were all going about their business, getting into costume, and preparing for the night. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I bid farewell to JP, and set off to find Maria-Star to face my punishment.
It didn’t take long. She was coming out of the wardrobe area when she spotted me lingering near the door. I was certain that my face looked contrite, but when she spoke she didn’t seem angry.
“I had to put the dress away for another time. It’s very difficult to repair the tulle. I decided to cut it all off and keep the bodice. I can use it in a different way or recreate the dress to what it once was. The shoes were easier though, and I have others. We can choose something else if you want. We’ll see how it looks. I have asked for extra time with you before you need to be on set. We have an additional thirty minutes more than what we had previously,” she said matter-of-factly as she approached me.
“I’m so sorry. It was an accident.”
“Pshh! Stop that right now. I told you we may need more than one and we did. That is the reason I prepared for it.”
I looked at her flabbergasted.
“No, not because I thought you would destroy it. I wanted to be prepared for anything that might happen. I’m only sorry I don’t have a copy of it. However, since that was the first scene you wore it in, it’s easy to replace. Now, come with me. We need to get you readied.”
She was off like a little dynamo and I was right behind her. We entered the same room I had dressed in the night before, my private dressing room with the ‘boss’. I still loved that. I didn’t know why she had taken special interest in me, but I was certainly reaping the benefits.
For tonight, she chose another short red and black dress. The top was a strapless corset with black lace just above the breasts. The entire dress was covered in red tulle covered in a black tulle overlay with the exception for the midriff. It was red satin covered in black lace flowers. Buttons ran up the front of the bodice, and the skirt was cinched at my hips before flaring out, similar to the dress I had worn last night. She chose different shoes for me to wear. They were ankle boots that opened in the back exposing my heel. The tops were black velvet trimmed with black lace and the boots were red covered with black lace flowers. The bottoms were black velvet as well with a peep toe. They laced up the front and tied at the top with black satin ribbon. They looked as if they had been made for this dress!
Maria-Star took great care covering the bruises. She needed to cover the area completely, and did not want to hurt me any more than necessary. I assumed that was why she had requested extra time. She knew of the incident and calculated that we would need more time than we’d had the night before. It was amazing. When she was finished, you couldn’t see any marks at all. It looked as if there was nothing different from the other arm. She even added an upper arm bracelet with two red jewels set in gold that, if anything, would draw attention to the adornment and not my arm. I loved it! It went perfectly with my new ensemble.
My hair and make-up were styled the same as the night before, and I had to admit that the new dress and shoes made me feel as beautiful and sexy as the previous ones, maybe even more!
Now that I had a better idea of the character I was playing, I could put myself in that mindset. I planned to develop a backstory that included Russell. How did I come to be with him? Where did I come from? Why was he gifting me to the Sheriff? If he couldn’t or didn’t want to help, then I would invent it myself; though it was my experience that actors with some sort of familiarity or interaction would enjoy working out some details of their past together.
Once everyone was readied we were herded together to walk to the set. JP and I hung back a little from the others. My nerves were taking over again. Tonight I would be singing and, in just a moment, I would be seeing Eric again for the first time since curling up in his lap and snuggling into him like a child holds onto a parent when they are hurt or sick.
I may not remember everything we talked about, but I remembered the comfort and security he gave me holding me in that way. No, last night had not been a dream. I wondered if he would now feel the same closeness and affection that I now held for him, or if he really and truly was just that nice. I knew I would find out soon enough.
We entered the tavern and the others went straight to the places they had last night. I went to the doorway to wait for Russell. Due to the fact that we had taken more time preparing tonight, I assumed the filming would start any minute.
As I waited, I felt an arm loop through mine and a hand reach down to give mine a squeeze. I looked to my side to find Sookie standing next to me. She was leaning against my good arm and smiling.
“How are ya holdin’ up tonight, sweetie?”
“I’m doing well. Thanks,” I returned her smile.
“Good. And how is your…you know…you know what?”
“Oh, it’s fine,” I said slightly embarrassed to be talking about my ass with her.
She looked surprised briefly, but recovered quickly.
“Oh, uh…great! That’s great!” she chirped showing me the ‘Crazy Sookie’ smile I had seen on television. What was that about?
“Thanks for asking. I’m really OK, slightly nervous, but overall OK.”
“Maria-Star covered it up. You can’t even tell.”
She looked at it and smiled.
“Yeah, she did a great job! I’m staying out here for the filming again tonight. I want to hear you sing,” she said brightly, “Don’t let her bother you,” she added in a whisper.
“You should be startin’ soon, so I’ll leave you be. I just wanted to check in and make sure you were doing OK. I’ll try to talk to you after. We had a long day and I’m going to step outside for some fresh air for a bit,” she said in a normal tone of voice.
“Thanks again for asking after me. It means quite a bit to me that you would take the time,” I said sincerely.
“What are you talking about? Didn’t Lala tell you that you’re part of the family?” she laughed a little and gave my hand another squeeze before leaving me to my own devices.
Only a moment passed until I was approached by Lafayette. He walked to the front of me and took both my hands.
“Honey chile, yous lookin’ jus fine again tonights!” he said as he took one hand and twirled me in a circle. “I’d hug yas, but I don’ts want ta mess ya up!” he smiled wide.
“Thanks, I’m feeling fine.”
Like Sookie, he gave my hand a squeeze and looked at me again, nodded, and walked away to meet her outside on the benches. They were sitting on one outside the tavern and facing the other side of the street. I noticed they leaned in close together and seemed to be talking very quietly with each other. They would stop, look around, and then lean in to continue talking.
I could not get over how much they seemed to like JP and me! It was so endearing. I knew they were here for only a short time longer, but just as with Maggie, I felt I was truly making friends.
I looked around waiting on Russell. It seemed we had more time than I thought because I didn’t see anyone except the extras waiting around. Neither the director nor Alcee had entered either. That was strange. I stood there waiting by myself.
Movement in the main room caught my attention, and I peeked in to see Pam sitting at the table with JP. She was staring at him intently while leaning in and speaking quietly.
I unconsciously started singing low while staring at her. I was almost growling under my breath.
Well you should see Polythene Pam
She’s so good-looking but she looks like a man
Well you should see her in drag dressed in her polythene bag
Yes you should see Polythene Pam
Yeah, yeah, yeah
All of a sudden, Pam whipped her head around and glared at me. If she could have glared with any more loathing, I just might have turned to stone. I silently told myself “Fuck it,” while I continued singing. Just how did she hear from all the way over there anyway?
Get a dose of her in jackboots and kilt
She’s killer-diller when she’s dressed to the hilt
She’s the kind of a girl that makes the “News of the World”
Yes you could say she was attractively built
Yeah, yeah, yeah
“Chelsea,” he stated by way of greeting and startling the hell out of me.
I abruptly stopped singing and started blushing. How many times is that? I don’t think I could count high enough to include how many times I had embarrassed myself in front of him. Maybe he hadn’t heard what I was singing?
He stepped to my side and looked at me with a smirk on his face.
“She hates that song while I find it quite enjoyable. I play it often when she is near. Though I must admit, I am glad you do not sing to me with the same vexing look that is on your face now,” he said, chuckling. Nope. He heard me.
“Oh, I didn’t mean…”
“It is quite all right. I know that her interactions with you have not been…pleasant much of the time.”
“Maybe not, but still, I shouldn’t have. I didn’t even notice I was singing.”
“I always notice when you are singing. In this moment, however, I believe the growling was a little stronger than the phrase,” he said, smiling a crooked smile.
“I’m sorry,” I said penitently, looking down at my feet.
He moved to stand in front of me. He reached down and placed his fingers under my chin raising my face to look in my eyes.
“Do not be.”
I could melt into those eyes. How did he do that? I was putty in his hands. His touch on my chin reminded me of his soft touch with me last night. If only I could remember more. It was driving me crazy to have so much time missed.
“I wanted to thank you,” I said quietly.
“It is I who should thank you.”
“No, I mean for last night. For staying with me and for taking me home. It was…”
“Nice?” he supplied.
“I was speaking of last night as well. It was my desire to take care of you when you were injured and make you feel safe and comforted. Thank you for allowing it.”
“Are you kidding? I really appreciated it. I mean, I still appreciate it. I don’t remember much, but I’m sure I must have said things that I would regret if I did.”
I tried to look away, to look down again, but he kept his fingers planted securely where they were.
“Surely you would not regret informing me that you wished to remove your undergarments?” He quirked an eyebrow.
“I said WHAT?” I could feel my face getting hot.
“My mistake, is that not one of the things you wished to remember?”
“What? No! Oh my God!” I was blushing furiously. He brought is other hand up and cupped the sides of my face looking at me intently.
“There was good reasoning behind your want. They were wet. I even encouraged your actions, but you then called me a ‘perv’ and decided against it,” he chuckled again, lowering his hands.
“Oh good Lord, I’m so sorry!”
“I apologize; I should not be teasing you. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversations last night.”
Just then “Places” was called.
“Perhaps, if there is time, I could tell you more later?”
“I’m not sure I want to know now.”
He laughed in earnest now.
“Ah, Russell, you are just in time,” he said, stepping back. He gave a nod to the man coming next to me.
“We will speak later, Chelsea.”
“Why are you calling me that now?”
“You gave me permission,” he replied, smiling.
He bowed slightly, turned, and entered the room to take his place.
“Good evening, my dear. I see you two are getting along swimmingly. I like that,” Russell said, smiling.
“What? Oh yeah, I guess so.”
“Anything you’d like to share?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“Later then,” He said.
“I think…I think I’m going to be busy later,” I said, staring in wonder at the back of the man who had just left us.
Aurelia Gliwiski as Chelsea ‘Cricket’ Kerrigan
Alexander Skarsgård as Eric Northman
Kristin Bauer van Straten as Pam Ravenscroft
Sean Hayes as JP
Salma Hayek as Maria-Star
Anna Paquin as Sookie Stackhouse
Nelsan Ellis as Lafayette
Ewan McGregor as Russell Edgington
A/N: A huge thank you to MsBuffy for editing this chapter. I don’t think I could do it without you, my friend! Thank you to Gyllene for creating the beautiful banner for this story! I love it! To all of you who are reading this, you guys are the best! Don’t forget to review! I love hearing what you think! Thanks for reading! 🙂
Special thanks to ‘The Beatles’ for the use of ‘Polythene Pam’.